Bombus subterraneus

Controversial bee project buzzing with success

A bee re-introduction plan in Kent which led to outrage in Sweden appears to be working as researchers discover workers in the fields – a sure sign of the queen bees having bred. There has been a number of failed attempts at reintroducing the short-haired bumblebee to Kent in this year it may have finally…
tagged bumblebee

Radio-tagged bumble-bees reveal impacts of pesticides

A study involving the tagging of bees shows how neonicotinoid based pesticides influence the foraging of bees and interferes with the insects learning new foraging skills. The study was undertaken by researchers from Guelph’s School of Environmental Sciences and Imperial College London and was published in British Ecological Society’s journal Functional Ecology. The study by by Nigel…
bee

International taskforce back action on neonicotinoids

An international team affiliated with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has come down in favour of regulatory control of the neonicotinoids basec pesticides. The task force undertook a meta-analysis of 800 peer-reviewed studies and concluded that the evidence was sufficient to support regulatory action. The scientists from the Task Force on…
Bombus hyperboreus

Europe’s bumblebees heading for disaster

Of the 68 species of bumblebee that live in Europe almost a quarter (24%) are at real risk of extinction. This was the findings of a recently published report produced by the European Union. The study which aimed to look at the state of the species on a European level is a concern because of the…
red barbed ant

Global Re-introductions case studies published

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has released the latest volume of case studies involving the re-introduction of endangered species. The 298 page book is available to download free of charge in pdf format. It covers 236 re-introduction programmes and is the 4th in a series from the Reintroduction Specialists Group. The…
spider

Spiders opt for a side portion of veg with their meat

Far from being purely meat eaters it appears that some species of spider opt for a side portion of vegetable matter with their protein. A study by researchers from Exeter University has discovered that some orb spiders will eat pollen as well as predating on insects and that pollen can make up 25% of a…
bee

Air pollution impacts on bees ability to find food

Diesel fumes from modern transport and agricultural equipment could be preventing honeybees from finding their food flowers according to scientists. The researchers from Southampton have discovered that air pollution can mask the odour of flowers. By masking the floral smells of different species the honey bees are unable to find their preferred source of food.…
bee

Scotland loses a third of its honeybees over winter

Last winter saw one of the biggest losses of managed honeybees in Scotland for many years. The results of a recent survey has just been published and last winters weather together with the slow start to this spring saw 31% of honeybee colonies fail to make it for the new season. The survey run by Strathclyde…
bee

Fungicides implicated in honey bee parasite susceptability

A study just publishes seems to show that honey bees can be exposed to sub-lethal levels of widely used fungicides which will make them more at risk from the gut parasite Nosema ceranae. The team of researchers in the United States pollen in beehives across a wide range of crops that required pollination. The researchers examined the…
damselfly

Dragonflies start to take centre stage

Dragonflies are growing in popularity with the general public – at least in the US – with festivals springing up across the country. It’s long overdue as dragonflies and damselflies have to be some of the most stunning and fascinating insects that can be seen. The US Wildlife and Fisheries Service has featured the new…
cyclops mountain

Need to name a new species? Look to Yellow Pages

Discovering, describing and naming a new species used to be a long time-consuming task but thanks to DNA profiling it is much quicker and easier. That’s important with current levels of habitat loss. But what happens when new species come thick and fast? How do you name all those new species? That’s a problem that…
Cystomastacoides kiddo

Kill Bill hits the insect world

Dressed in orange with black stripes Uma Thurman as Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill leaves a trail of blood and gore throughout the movie. The Bride fights the Crazy 88 scene is one of the most bloody in Quentin Tarantino’s film. Now a blood-thirsty parasitic wasp from Thailand has been named after the lead character. Cystomastacoides…
rainforest canopy

10 years of tropical forest bug counting

A project to count all the arthropods in the San Lorenzo forest of Panama could help to give a much more accurate estimate of the number of species on Earth. The project discovered that for every plant species there were 20 species of arthropods, for every species of birds there were 83 species of arthropods…
butterfly

Can gardens still help this years butterflies

It’s clearly coming towards the end of a washout summer and one of the insects that have really bared the brunt of the adverse weather is the butterfly. The cold and wet weather has meant that numbers are well down in many parts of the UK. However if you end up having a bit of an…
lacewing discovered on Flickr

Flickr leads to discovery of new lacewing species

A brand new species of lacewing has been discovered in Malaysia but were it not for photo sharing website Flickr the species could have remained unknown and undescribed. The insect was photographed in the rain-forest of Selangor in Malaysia and then released. The images were posted online and discovered by research scientists. The new green…
honey bee

Common pesticide gives bees a sweet-tooth

A single small dose of a commonly used pesticide can give honey-bees a sweet-tooth and that could be a problem as bees turn their noses up to nutritious but less sweet nectar. It’s yet another problem that is being laid at the door of the neonicotinoids. Small single dose of pesticide changed honey-bee behaviour. This latest research saw biologists…
ladybug

Do we need a rethink on bugbanks and farming?

Field boundaries and bug banks have been promoted as a way to help farmers reduce their reliance on pesticides and insecticides. By providing beneficial plants around – and within – the crops it is hoped that predatory insects like ladybirds will tackle the insect pests of the crops. A new study from Michigan in the…