In a huge embarrassment for humankind, scientists found a bee nest made out of plastic bags in Argentina. According to the researchers, the plastic nest resulted in a lower survival rate for the bees.
The most widely grown and appreciated garden favorites, of course, are those with attractive flowers. And there is a common assumption that those plants which delight human eyes will also be the most attractive for bees and other flower-visiting insects. Research at the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects at the University of Sussex can give a more empirical take.
A controversial pesticide can potentially wipe out common bumblebee populations by preventing the formation of new colonies, research has shown. The neonicotinoid chemical thiamethoxam dramatically reduces egg-laying by queen bumblebees, say scientists. Predictions based on a mathematical model suggest this could result in the total collapse of local populations of the wild bees.
There are better ways of dealing with pests – especially biological controls. Modern pesticides are extremely powerful and many are long-lasting and very toxic to bees and other insects. Removing all unnecessary pesticides from the environment is probably the single most important thing we can do to save the bees.
The lead author of a major study which found that neonicotinoid pesticides harm honey bees has hit back against criticism from the chemical companies that part-funded the work.