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  • Funded by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture

    The Southern Region IPM Center is located at North Carolina State University, 1730 Varsity Drive, Suite 110, Raleigh, NC 27606, and is sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
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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

Honey bee losses seem to be declining

in Delta Farm Press

Good news for bees—and those who keep them.

The number of honey bee colonies lost last year is down from the previous year and shows an improvement over the ten-year average, according to a survey just released by the Bee Informed Partnership (http://beeinformed.org), in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA). Continue reading

How to combat Zika and protect the environment – at the same time

by Lisa Gross, Ensia

County public health officials in South Carolina weren’t thinking about bees in August, when they realized that four residents in a single town had returned from travel abroad infected with Zika. Like health officials around the world, they were thinking of the babies born with heartbreaking birth defects in Brazil. And they were thinking about mosquitoes.

After reports emerged in January that thousands of Brazilian infants had been born with microcephaly, a debilitating neurodevelopmental condition marked by severely stunted head and brain growth, the World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency to figure out why. Scientists thought Zika might be a cause, and within months the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that it was. Continue reading

How to protect and enhance pollinators – new e-manual available

Extension specialists at Michigan State University and the Ohio State University have developed an online manual on how to protect and increase pollinators in the landscape. The book focuses on the North Central region, as is clear in the title, Protecting and enhancing pollinators in urban landscapes for the US North Central Region, but it contains recommendations that pertain to any region. Continue reading

Honeybee colony collapses have been around for a while, says MSU apiculturalist

In Delta Farm Press

by Hembree Brandon

Environmental and anti-pesticide activists have made honey bee deaths “the poster child” of their ongoing crusade against ag chemicals, particularly neonicotinoids, says Jeff Harris.

But the Mississippi State University Extension/research apiculturist says pesticides are just a part of the cause of colony collapse disorder, which has wiped out thousands of bee colonies in the U.S. and worldwide in recent years. “I would never say pesticides don’t harm bees — that’s what they’re made to do, kill insects — but at the same time I wouldn’t single them out as the predominant cause of bee losses. Continue reading

Attracting pollinators to your yard

In North Carolina Field and Family

by Carol Cowan

If you ate today, you might want to thank a pollinator. From bees to butterflies to birds, pollinators are directly responsible for one out of every three bites of food we consume. They also facilitate the reproduction of roughly 80 percent of all flowering plants, including trees. In fact, pollinators contribute an estimated $217 billion to the global economy, supporting food and fiber production, clean air, and stable soil. These tiny creatures play a huge and vital role in sustaining the ecosystems on which life on earth depends.

But native pollinator habitat has been disappearing, and as a result, their populations are on the decline. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) is working with N.C. State University to remedy the situation by establishing dedicated pollinator plots at all 18 agricultural research stations throughout the state. Project leaders hope homeowners and farmers will follow suit and aspire to grow pollinator habitat on their own property. Continue reading

Results from new bee studies show mixed results

Yesterday afternoon on All Things Considered on NPR, reporter Allison Aubrey did a report on a new study done by two new studies published in the journal Nature that conclude that some seed pesticides such as neonicotinoids may sometimes be the food of choice for wild bees and bumblebees.

Continue reading