Bees in the news July 2018

This month we have compiled a list of bee related articles that were in news recently.

David Attenborough on saving bees

Bees were in the news several times during late June and July. The article that appears to have garnered the most attention was a Facebook post from David Attenborough advising people to feed tired bees a spoon of sugar water. Unfortunately the post was quickly discovered to be fake and has since been taken down from Facebook.

Jennifer Nichols and Kate Stephens from ABC rural reported that the post was fake and we need to continue to let people know that the article was not written by David Attenborough and should not be followed. Jennifer Nichols and Kate Stephens article can be read here.

At the time of writing this article Global Citizen still have an article on their website detailing the fake post which can be viewed here. One of the issues with the post is that feeding the wrong sugar in the wrong ratio to bees can be harmful to them. When feeding bees sugar water they must be fed white sugar. Depending on the time of year the ratio varies from 1:1 to 2:1 (sugar to water). Feeding at unnecessary times or using the incorrect ratio can cause bees to fill mix the sugar into their honey stores, tainting the quality of the honey should it be extracted by the beekeeper to be sold to consumers.

So instead of leaving out a teaspoon of sugar water and risking bee health (and an ant infestation!) plant a bee friendly flower in your garden instead. This could include borage, roses, rosemary, hebe or any number of other plants.

Blue borage with a bee
A honeybee on a blue borage flower.

 

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) provide evidence that beekeepers lie longer than other people

This article appeared in the July 2018 NSW Bee Biosecurity News article sent out to registered beekeepers. It refers to a Malaysian study from 2015. The study of just 60 people found beekeepers had longer telomeres which indicated they would live longer. By itself it isn’t enough evidence to undoubtedly prove beekeeping leads to longer life but it is a great conversation point for beekeepers. This is the link to the research as published by the NSW DPI.

 

Tom Nancarrow wrote about beekeepers accessing forage in conservation parks

In short this article described how the booming almond industry relies on bees to pollinate the trees for high crop yields. To provide this service beekeepers are keeping more hives to meet farmers demands. However almond pollinate only lasts for approximately 3 weeks. The extra beehives need alternative food sources for the remaining 49 weeks of the year and one suggestion is to allow beekeepers to place their hives in a greater number of national parks and reserves to forage. You can read the full article here.

 

Researching mating behaviours of queen bees

Holly Richardson wrote an article in ABC Science about James Withrow’s research on queen bee mating behaviours. James’ research looks at larvae and not just the usually worker bee genes. Here is the full article.

 

Even ‘safe’ levels of pesticides are harmful to bees

Finally, this article from Smithsonian details research that highlights even low level doses of pesticides harm bees. So called ‘safe’ levels of these pesticides don’t kill bees but they still cause memory and learning impairment. This reduces a bees ability to locate food and return to their hive. The take home message – the fewer chemicals we spray the better our environment will be.

Thanks for reading, enjoy your journey!

 

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