Tag: insects

Sunday set: Got bugs?

Polli-nation!

Nature’s diversity is astounding at any level, but when you get down to a bug’s-eye view, it can really blow your mind. When I took the lily photo (with the upside-down bee or wasp) I didn’t  notice the second bug until I looked at the image on a larger screen at home. Curious, I started searching around a little bit and it didn’t take me long to learn that it’s a lily beetle, which is considered a pest in gardens, but is part of the natural environment in the Alps. In any case, plants and insects are completely interdependent, just as all living things are woven together in the global fabric of biodiversity. Respect nature, don’t abuse it.

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Morning photo: Stop bugging me!

Insect of the world …

OK, so I’m not a super tech geek when it comes to my iPhone, and even though I’ve thought about getting some of those fancy external lenses, I can’t reach that deep into my pocket. Maybe someday … but in the meantime, I do get lucky every now and then when a bee or some other bug happens to be right in front of the lens on a bright, sunny day. Click. Magic!

If you want to support Summit Voice independent journalism, you can buy fine art landscape and nature prints at one of our online galleries like FineArt America, where I’ve posted some of my best shots. Browse for traditional or metal prints, or even greeting cards with your favorite image and keep environmental alive.

UK study shows ecosystem impacts of light pollution

A ladybug enjoys a leisurely stroll in an organic Austrian corn field.
Artificial night lighting has a significant impact on plants and insects, according to a new study. bberwyn photo.

Yellow street lights stunt growth in some plant species

Staff Report

FRISCO — Light pollution is affecting natural ecosystems in far-reaching ways that are difficult to predict, according to University of Exeter scientists, who simulated the effects of street lighting on artificial grassland plots.

The artificial light affects the growth and flowering of plants and even the number of insects that depend on those plants for food, their study concluded. Due to the global extent of artificial light at night, there are concerns that these ecological impacts may be widespread. Continue reading “UK study shows ecosystem impacts of light pollution”

Biodiversity: Endangered species protection sought for dwindling monarch butterflies

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Can monarch butterflies be saved?

Pesticides, habitat loss and GMO crops seen as main threats

Staff Report

FRISCO —As monarch butterfly populations dwindle to unprecedented low levels, activists say the colorful and far-ranging insects need protection of the Endangered Species Act to survive. In a formal listing petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a coalition of advocacy groups say the widespread use of pesticides and genetically modified crops are the biggest threats to the butterflies. Continue reading “Biodiversity: Endangered species protection sought for dwindling monarch butterflies”

Is out-of-state firewood a threat to Colorado trees?

Trees? Or toothpicks?
Beetle-killed trees near Frisco, Colorado.

State Forest Service warns against transporting firewood

Staff Report

FRISCO — It may be a little like the Dutch boy putting his finger in the leaky dike, but Colorado Forest Service officials are warning that transporting firewood from place to place may increase the spread of invasive tree-killing bugs.

Moving firewood even short distances increases the risk to Colorado’s native forests and urban trees. With the 2013 detection of the highly destructive emerald ash borer in the City of Boulder, and ongoing bark beetle epidemics in the state’s mountain forests, the Colorado State Forest Service wants to be sure people are aware of the risks associated with moving firewood. Continue reading “Is out-of-state firewood a threat to Colorado trees?”

Morning photo: An iPhone set

The little camera that ROCKS

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Hummingbird moth in Breckenridge.

FRISCO —I am still amazed at how much I can do with the iPhone camera during a casual stroll. Friday morning in Breckenridge, I spotted several hummingbird moths feeding on planter flowers at the Riverwalk Center. Not expecting too much, I positioned myself at a good angle to the sun, held the camera close to the blooms and waited for a moth to enter the frame. The shutter speed wasn’t quite high enough to completely freeze the moth’s wingbeat (up to 50 beats per second) but I rather like the slightly blurred effect, giving the image a dynamic quality, and the rest of the frame is pretty darn sharp. Friday evening as the lightning rolled in from the West, I experimented with low-light exposure and, to my surprise, actually managed to catch a sky-brightening flash, leaving the silhouette of Peak 1 fairly sharp, but the foreground highly pixelated (next image). Continue reading “Morning photo: An iPhone set”

Biodiversity: Even at ‘safe’ levels, pesticides are having catastrophic impacts on aquatic ecosystems

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Dragonflies are taking a big hit from pesticides, even at levels deemed “safe” by lab tests. Bob Berwyn photo.

Study documents dramatic regional decline of insect species

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After studying ecosystems contaminated with pesticides, scientists say they’ve been able to measure a dramatic loss of invertebrate biodiversity in polluted streams and rivers.

The study is one of the first to document the toxic effects of pesticides at a regional ecosystem level, rather than exptrapolating toxicity from lab tests.

“The current practice of risk assessment is like driving blind on the motorway”, said ecotoxicologist Matthias Liess. “To date, the approval of pesticides has primarily been based on experimental work carried out in laboratories and artificial ecosystems.” Continue reading “Biodiversity: Even at ‘safe’ levels, pesticides are having catastrophic impacts on aquatic ecosystems”