Tag: bumblebees

Neonicotinoids impede bumblebee egg production

Another study shows pollinator pesticide impacts

A common bumblebee visits a garden in Vienna, Austria. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

It’s no secret that various pesticides are killing bees in many different ways, despite all the lies from chemical companies trying to make you think otherwise. In that battle for truth, and ultimately justice, more science helps, and researchers from the University of Guelph have show now systemic neonicotinoids reduce egg production in wild queen bumblebees.

“Queen bees will only lay eggs when the eggs are fully developed,” said Prof. Nigel Raine, holder of the Rebanks Family Chair in Pollinator Conservation. If queens need to use energy to clear pesticides from their system instead of investing in eggs, then fewer fully developed eggs will result, he said. “This will likely translate into slower egg-laying rates, which will then impede colony development and growth.” Continue reading “Neonicotinoids impede bumblebee egg production”

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Sunday set: Global change

Travel a little, learn a lot

This set includes illustrations for some of my most recent stories in various environmental and climate news publications and if you’re a regular Summit Voice reader who is not on Twitter or Instagram, I’m providing a few links here.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how some of Greenlands coastal glaciers already passed passed a climate change tipping point about 20 years ago. Because of the physical processes of snowmelt and runoff, these glaciers are going to disappear even if global greenhouse gas emissions are cut to zero immediately. You can read the story here.

For Pacific Standard, I put together an environmental photo essay on bumblebees, some of the most important pollinators of wildflowers, especially in mountain regions and also in the far north. Bumblebees are important because they are cold-tolerant, so they’re out and about visiting early blooms while other pollinators are dormant. They’ll also fly long distances to visit a single flower. Without them, some species would go extinct. Check out the photo essay here.

You might have seen the recent Summit Voice story on beach erosion and how it’s going to wash away some world famous surf spots along the California coast, and in other areas where coastal strands are ringed by mountains, but if you missed it, you can see it here.

I also wrote about the annual Austrian glacier report for Deutsche Welle, a great global news organization that really does in-depth environmental and climate reporting. You can visit the DW website here, or follow them on Twitter for a daily feed. And my story on the dwindling glaciers is here.

Finally, in a critical story for Colorado and the rest of the West, I reported on how we are losing the war on wildfires and how we need to change our way of thinking about forests and fires in an era of rapid climate change. The story is online at Pacific Standard.

Environment: Are pesticides making bumblebees dumber?

Bumblebee butt and thistle.
Bumblebees may struggle to navigate wild flowers after exposure to pesticides. @bberwyn photo.

Study shows even low levels of neonicotinoids affect foraging skills

Staff Report

There’s more evidence showing how exposure to pesticides affects bumblebees. In anew study, scientists found that low levels of pesticides can affect which flowers bumblebees choose and potentially hindering their ability to forage for nectar and pollen.

The findings were published in the journal Functional Ecology and will help inform the use of pesticides in agriculture. The research is important because bees and other insects pollinate many of the world’s important food crops and wild plants. But pollinators are declining due to a variety of causes, showing the need for more research and safeguards. Continue reading “Environment: Are pesticides making bumblebees dumber?”

Bumblebees losing ground to global warming

Changes in southeastern forests may be contributing to the decline of bee populations, @bberwyn photo.
Bumblebees are being squeezed in a climate vice, Canadian researchers found in a new study. @bberwyn photo.

‘The result is widespread, rapid declines of pollinators across continents …’

Staff Report

FRISCO — Canadian researchers say North American and European bumblebees are being squeezed in a “climate vise” that’s compressing their habitat.

In their study, the scientists found that it’s getting too warm at the southern end of their range, but the bees haven’t been able to expand northward into cooler territory.

“The result is widespread, rapid declines of pollinators across continents, effects that are not due to pesticide use or habitat loss. It looks like it’s just too hot,” said Professor Jeremy Kerr, Macroecology and Conservation chair at the  University of Ottawa. Continue reading “Bumblebees losing ground to global warming”

Study: Neonicotinoids taking a toll on wild bees

A bumblebee
New research links neonicotinoid pesticides with declines in wild bee populations. @bberwyn photo.

Evidence piling up that pesticides are big factor in global bee decline

Staff Report

FRISCO — Treating seeds with systemic neonicotinoid pesticides has a significant impact on wild bee populations, Swedish scientists reported last week in the journal Nature.

The field research showed that, when neonicotinoids are used as a seed coating, it reduces wild bee density, solitary bee nesting and bumblebee colony growth. The researchers concluded that the “contribution of pesticides to the global decline of wild bees may have been underestimated.” Continue reading “Study: Neonicotinoids taking a toll on wild bees”

Environment: Bumblebees lose foraging skills after exposure to systemic neonicotinoid pesticides

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A bumblebee foraging on fireweed. @bberwyn photo.

‘Exposure to this neonicotinoid pesticide seems to prevent bees from being able to learn these essential skills’

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Bumblebees carrying tiny transmitters have helped show how long-term exposure to systemic neonicotinoid pesticides prevents the insects from learning all the skills they need to forage for pollen.

The study was co-authored by University of Guelph scientist Nigel Raine and published in the British Ecological Society’s journal Functional Ecology.
Continue reading “Environment: Bumblebees lose foraging skills after exposure to systemic neonicotinoid pesticides”

Study: Garden diversity key to preserving bumblebees

UK researchers track flower preferences

Bumblebee butt and thistle.
A bumblebee searches for pollen on a thistle bloom. bberwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Diversity in urban gardens can play a key role in sustaining pressured bumblebee populations, ecologists in the UK said this week, explaining the results of a study that measured bumblebee preferences for both native and non-native plants.

The most common species of bumblebee is not picky about a plant’s origin when searching for nectar and pollen. But other species, including long-tongued bees, favor plants native to the UK and Europe. Continue reading “Study: Garden diversity key to preserving bumblebees”