Monarch Conservation webinar: milkweed seed collection

Monarchs need milkweed! Collecting native milkweed seed is a cost-effective way to get local ecotype seeds for use in restoration projects. In this webinar, you’ll get an overview of milkweed seed collection, including a primer on native plants, tips and tricks for harvesting, storing and growing milkweed seed, and how you can participate in the Monarch Watch Milkweed Market to contribute to milkweed planting on a large scale. If you want to learn about how begin or improve your milkweed seed collection efforts, this is the webinar for you!

This webinar is sponsored by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Continue reading

Tips for dealing with carpenter bees

By Wade Hutcheson, University of Georgia

We used to try to hit them with baseball bats. A tennis racket would have been a better choice, but there were no tennis courts on our farm.

We would also catch them going into their holes, plug the hole and listen to their angry reply. Carpenter bees were a lot of fun for growing boys. Continue reading

North Carolina bee expert demonstrates queen bee health on Capitol Hill

As Congress considers the Farm Bill and agricultural appropriations, agricultural researchers from a variety of disciplines are updating Congressional members and staff on research covering current challenges and emerging threats in agriculture, food and natural resources.

David Tarpy, CALS professor of entomology and Extension apiculturist, is participating in a national exhibition in Washington, D.C., on June 6 to help demonstrate how multiple types of U.S. Department of Agriculture funding (intramural, extramural, competitive and capacity) work together to bolster American innovation. Continue reading

Two positions open at USDA ARS working with pollinators

Two different USDA-ARS positions are included below, one for an “assistant-professor” level position on nutrition and the other a postdoc position in bioinformatics. Continue reading

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

Increase in bee deaths this year could be from climate change

In Southwest Farm Press

Beekeepers in the U.S. reported an increase in honeybee deaths over the last year, possibly the result of erratic weather patterns brought on by a changing climate, according to the scientist leading an annual survey on the insects.

U.S. beekeepers said 40% of their hives, also called colonies, died unexpectedly during the year that ended March 31, according to a survey released Wednesday by researchers from Auburn University and the University of Maryland. That’s up from 33% a year earlier. Continue reading

Deadlines are soon to register for ESA field tours on invasive species and pollinators

The Entomological Society of America is planning two field tours in August focused on important insect issues: invasive species and pollinators. Deadlines to apply for the tours are in June.

The Invasive Species Security Field Tour will be held August 20-22 in southeastern Pennsylvania, and the deadline to apply to attend is June 1. The tour will visit the spotted lanternfly quarantine zone to view the damage and spread of this new invasive, and also discuss the significance and management of other invasive species. The tour seeks to understand the resources needed to improve prevention, early detection, rapid response and the potential for eradication. Additionally, the  tour will try to leverage public education and outreach strategies to inform the public about the impact of invasive species and actions that can slow their occurrence and spread.​ Continue reading