Students, teachers and community gardeners launch pollinator census this August

By Merritt Melancon, University of Georgia

Calling the class roll is a time-tested way for teachers to start the school year, but when Georgia students head back to school this year, some of them will complete a roll call of their own.

Honeybees? Present. Leafcutter bees? Here. Swallowtail butterflies? Yo. Continue reading

USDA pollinator study examines forage quality

In Delta Farm Press

USDA’s Economic Research Service conducted a literature review of the effects of land use on pollinator health and examined the trends in pollinator forage quality over the last 30 years. Continue reading

Management of honey bee colonies may contribute to Varroa populations, study shows

Close proximity of honey bee colonies may contribute to Varroa population growth and virus transmission, according to an article recently published in Environmental Entomology. Varroa just detach from their current host and hitch a ride to another colony on a visiting foraging bee.

Varroa mites don’t reproduce very fast. A female mite will produce one to three offspring; infestations take several years to reach levels that would threaten the hive. However, in managed honey bee colonies, varroa populations increase rapidly, causing beekeepers to apply up to seven miticide applications per year. Continue reading

Bayer announces 58 “Feed A Bee” Projects

Bayer has  announced 58 projects that will receive funding to establish forage for pollinators across the nation. Nearly 100 projects were submitted in response to the request for proposals for the first round of funding, which were reviewed and evaluated by the inaugural Feed a Bee steering committee.

Through the Feed a Bed program, Bayer is working to establish native pollinator forage in all 50 states before the end of 2018, distributing a total of $500,000 to organizations across the country via a competitive request for proposal  process. The 58 projects funded in this first round represent organizations that span all sectors, including universities, nonprofits, nature conservancies and more, in more than 30 states and Washington, D.C. Awards range  from $1,000 to $5,000. Continue reading

European study shows various results with neonic-honey bee interactions

A study in Europe that tested bee health in neonicotinoid treated fields had different results in two countries, supporting previous statements that bee declines are the result of multiple factors.

The study, which was the largest field study ever conducted on bees and neonics, was featured in Science this past week. Scientists monitored bees in 33 locations in the United Kingdom, Germany and Hungary. Bees in each location were in canola fields, some of which had been treated with neonics and fungicides and others that were treated only with fungicides. Continue reading

Hot Cities Spell Bad News for Bees

by Matt Shipman, North Carolina State University

A new study from North Carolina State University finds that common wild bee species decline as urban temperatures increase.

“We looked at 15 of the most common bee species in southeastern cities and – through fieldwork and labwork – found that increasing temperatures in urban heat islands will have a negative effect on almost all of them,” says Steve Frank, an associate professor of entomology at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the work. Continue reading

NCSU golf course and BASF partner to help monarch butterflies

NC State University professor emeritus Harold Coble saw an opportunity to help the threatened monarch butterfly at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course. As a consultant for BASF, Coble knew about the project Living Acres, a BASF effort designed to promote growing milkweeds in non-agricultural areas like golf courses.

Since the Lonnie Poole was established as a sustainable golf course, Coble figured that it would be an ideal place for BASF to establish a monarch butterfly habitat. He approached the golf course management with the idea. Continue reading