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Non-native invasive Species Watch: Asian or Yellow-legged Hornet (Vespa velutina)

The GB non-native species secretariat is calling for people to look out for a potential invasive non-native hornet known as the Asian Hornet (Vespa velutina). There have been thirteen confirmed sightings and six nests destroyed in England since 2016, with nine sightings occurring in 2018 (last sighting on 14th Oct 2018). Asian hornets have the potential to pose a threat to wild bees and domestic honeybees if they become established. The GB non-native species secretariat are therefore keen to receive reports of any sightings to prevent the establishment of this non-native species.

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A systems approach reveals urban pollinator hotspots and conservation opportunities

A new study shows that pollinator populations in cities can thrive in the vicinity of allotments and gardens despite cities being perceived as having lower biodiversity levels compared to the countryside. Although many people think of brambles, dandelions, ox-eye daisies, creeping thistle and buttercups as weeds, the areas containing these plants had higher pollinator numbers and increased diversity.

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Call to look out for the non-native Asian or Yellow-legged hornet (Vespa velutina)

This species was found in Britain in 2016, 2017 and recently an over-wintered queen was found in Lancashire in 2018. Asian hornets have the potential to pose a threat to bees if they become established. Read More

Brilliant BeeWalk!

This month’s blog comes from two of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s enthusiastic and much appreciated BeeWalkers and volunteers, Margaret and Lily Alston.

As volunteers for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, this will be the third year we have taken part in their BeeWalk monitoring scheme.

At least once a month, we equip ourselves with recording sheet, magnifying glass, comfy clothes and of course a picnic lunch, then set off on our ‘walk’. This ‘walk’ is called a ‘transect’ which is a route through the Rock Garden, starting at Bridge Street, going through the top part of the garden, on to the Nature Reserve, then back along the front of the garden, ending back where we started. It is important, as this is a scientific study, to always walk exactly the same route! We also try to go on a sunny and relatively calm day….ideal conditions for our bumblebee friends! Read More

Neonicotinoids: risks to bees confirmed by EFSA

Most uses of neonicotinoid pesticides represent a risk to wild bees and honeybees, according to assessments published today by EFSA. The Authority has updated its risk assessments of three neonicotinoids – clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam – that are currently subject to restrictions in the EU because of the threat they pose to bees.

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Using garden shape and size to ensure bumblebee success

In this blog post, the Trust’s new volunteering and conservation assistant, Jack Reid, explains the research project he undertook during his MSc thesis. Read More

BBCT response to DEFRA position on neonicotinoid pesticides – 9 November 2017

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust welcomes DEFRA Secretary of State Michael Gove’s statement that the UK Government will support the European Commission’s proposal to both keep the current ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on flowering crops, and to extend these restrictions to non-flowering crops, including after the UK’s exit from the EU.  Read More

Pan-European study on neonicotinoids finds negative effects in bees under realistic conditions

Researchers from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) have published the results of their long-awaited, pan-European field study examining how real-world exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides affects bees. This important experiment, conducted in the UK, Germany and Hungary, supports the results of earlier, smaller-scale experiments which found neonicotinoids to be harmful to bees, especially wild bees. The study found negative effects in domestic Honeybees (Apis mellifera) in the UK and Hungary, while the most damning effects were found in the reproductive capabilities of Buff-tail bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) and Red Mason bees (Osmia bicornis) across all three countries.

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Hairy-footed flower bee spotted north of the border

Bumblebee Conservation Trust member, Ken East from Edinburgh, has spotted a Hairy-footed flower bee (Anthophora plumipes) in his garden – the first sighting of this species in Scotland since 2013, and probably the most northerly record of this bee to date. Ken found the bee in his greenhouse before safely releasing her outside again, but not before taking a few photographs of his new visitor, of course.

Female Hairy-footed flower bee (Anthophora plumipes), photos taken by Ken East, April 2016.

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Managed Bees Spread and Intensify Diseases in Wild Bees

UC Riverside-led research shows wild bees are harmed even when managed bees are disease-free.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – For various reasons, wild pollinators are in decline across many parts of the world. To combat this, managed honey bees and bumblebees are frequently shipped in to provide valuable pollination services to crops. But does this practice pose any risk to the wild bees?

An entomologist at the University of California, Riverside has examined the evidence by analyzing the large body of research done in this area to come to the conclusion that managed bees are spreading diseases to wild bees.

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