Study shows bees adjust diet according to season

Researchers at Tufts University have discovered that honey bees alter their diet of nutrients according to the season, particularly as winter approaches. A spike in calcium consumption in the fall, and high intake of potassium, help prepare the bees for colder months when they likely need those minerals to generate warmth through rapid muscle contractions. A careful inventory of the bees’ nutrient intake revealed shifting sources (from flowers to mineral rich ‘dirty water’) and how limitations in nutrient availability from these sources can have implications for the health of both managed and wild colonies.

The study, which is available in the May print edition of the Journal of Insect Physiology, examined mineral content gathered by and contained in adult bees and in their sources of food, exploring how they maintain the right nutritional balance of micronutrients. For most of the minerals tracked, it was found that the bees sought alternate sources to complement variation in the floral supply. Continue reading

APHIS Makes Pest Risk Assessment for Dandelion Greens From Mexico Available for Review

The government of Mexico has asked USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to authorize the importation of fresh dandelion greens for consumption into the continental United States, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. APHIS has drafted a pest risk assessment that lists potential pests likely to remain on the commodity upon importation if no mitigations are applied.

APHIS shares draft pest risk assessments to determine whether stakeholders have information that might lead us to revise the draft assessment before we identify pest mitigations and proceed with official rulemaking. Continue reading