Archive for June, 2009

An excellent 30 minute radio broadcast on bees, pollination and habitats.

The modern threats to honeybees, which include varroa mites and colony collapse disorder, are being widely publicised. But the honeybee in the UK is just a single species – there are over 260 species of solitary bees and bumblebees in the British Isles, all of which perform a free and efficient pollination service.

Listen here


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A simple fence made from wood, wire and beehives can deter elephants from raiding farmers’ crops.

A pilot study in Kenya has shown that such fences reduce the number of raids by elephants by almost half.

The work is the culmination of previous research which showed elephants are naturally scared of African honey bees.

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Fungus-farming ants have cultivated the same fungal crops for 50 million years. Each young ant queen carries a bit of fungus garden with her when she flies away to mate and establish a new nest. Short breaks in the ants’ relationship with the fungus during nest establishment may contribute to the stability of this long-term mutualism, according to a study at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Gamboa, Panama..

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News from the BBCT website:

Today sees our latest project unveiled to the World’s media. The short-haired bumblebee (Bombus subterraneus) is extinct in the UK, last seen in 1988. We are working with partners to reintroduce it from New Zealand.

It was originally exported from the UK to New Zealand on the first refrigerated lamb boats in the late 19th Century to pollinate clover crops. Although extinct in the UK, populations on the other side of the world have survived. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is working in partnership with Natural England, RSPB and Hymettus to bring the species home.

Read more about the project here, or follow it’s progress on Nikki’s blog.

Also the same story covered on the BBC Website.

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