Title: “What’s bugging the bees?”
Blurb: What makes a bee healthy or unhealthy? A bee’s environment can have major effects on its health and the well-being of the entire colony. Join us as we discuss the buzz on bees with Dr. Rosemary Malfi. Learn how a bee’s diet, as well as parasites and pathogens, can affect the health of its colony and how different landscapes affect bumble bees.
Dr. Rosemary Malfi is a post-doc in Dr. Lynn Alder’s lab at UMass. She has worked on how food environment and parasites influence bumble bee populations as well as how time-related patterns of floral resource availability influences the composition of bumble bee populations. At UMass she is leading a project investigating if sunflower plantings can mitigate disease and improve colony health in bumble bees.
If you missed the café and are curious about what all the buzz is about-don’t worry you won’t need to bumble about trying to find it! Below is a video of the entire café. It’s the bee’s knees!
We had a lot of great questions during the café that brought up some resources we would like to share with everyone.
What effect does Copper Sulfide and other pesticides have on bees?
- This compound is considered to have low toxicity based on lethal dosage studies performed in honey bees (there is a nice summary of toxicity of various agrochemicals from Michigan State Extension https://www.canr.msu.edu/uploads/resources/pdfs/Minimizing_Pesticide_Risk_to_Bees_in_Fruit_Crops_(E3245).pdf ). However, there appears to be at least one study (from Brazil https://entomologytoday.org/2016/04/11/study-shows-leaf-fertilizers-to-be-toxic-to-stingless-bees/ ) showing that solitary bee species may suffer greater impacts with oral exposure (e.g., eating it). Unfortunately, toxicity classifications are almost always based on what is lethal to honeybees, which likely do not represent the sensitivity of other species. With all that said, there is always a balance we are trying to strike between protecting pollinators and protecting our crops from pests and disease. Applying copper at times when a plant is not flowering and applying it in the evening will help to reduce direct exposure of bees to this compound.
How can we help Pollinators?
- Umass Extension: http://ag.umass.edu/resources/pollinators
- Xerces Society: http://www.xerces.org/
- Western Mass Pollinator Network: http://www.wmassbees.org/
How can I safely get rid of carpenter bees without using dangerous chemicals?
- The soda bottle traps are quite effective.