‘Murder hornets’ have arrived in the U.S. — here’s what you should know (Via Nat Geo)

‘Murder hornets’ have arrived in the U.S. — here’s what you should know (Via Nat Geo)

The world’s largest wasp has been spotted in Washington State, but don’t panic — efforts are underway to stop it from spreading.

TWO UNUSUAL HORNETS—STRIKING, with orange and black markings and long stingers—were spotted near Blaine, Washington, in late 2019. Subsequent investigation revealed they were Asian giant hornets, the world’s largest wasps, growing nearly two inches in length.

Full article here: National Geographic

Gardens highlight the challenge of changing climate (Via the RHS)

Designers focus on environment and sustainability at the world’s most famous flower show.

Gardens highlighting ways to combat climate change will take centre stage at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2020, sponsored by M&G, in next year’s garden line-up.

As the climate crisis continues to escalate, a number of global brands and garden designers will use the world’s most famous flower show as a platform to encourage a future where we live in harmony with nature through urban design and sustainable practices.

Full article here: RHS.org.uk

Fates of humans and insects intertwined, warn scientists (Via the Guardian)

Experts call for solutions to be enforced immediately to halt global population collapses.

The “fates of humans and insects are intertwined”, scientists have said, with the huge declines reported in some places only the “tip of the iceberg”.

The warning has been issued by 25 experts from around the world, who acknowledge that little is known about most of the estimated 5.5 million insect species. However, enough was understood to warrant immediate action, they said, because waiting for better data would risk irreversible damage.

Full article here: The Guardian

Young bumblebees fail to develop navigation skills after exposure to pesticides (Via the Telegraph)

Study reveals that chemicals brought back to a nest by older members of a colony cause irreversible brain damage to young.

Baby bumblebees exposed to pesticides may never develop the navigation skills needed to forage for food, scientists have found.

A new study shows that when pesticides are brought back to a nest by older members of a colony, they cause irreversible brain damage to the young.

Experts at Imperial College London (ICL) used miniature CT scanning technology at the Natural History Museum to examine the effects of pesticides on bees at three and 12 days after they emerged from their pupae. The scans showed significant damage to the development of the part of the brain that governs learning.

Full article here: The Telegraph

Sugar-poor diets wreak havoc on bumblebee queen’s health: Flower losses due to shrinking habitats and climate change hurt prime pollinators (via ScienceDaily)

A new study shows that without adequate sugar, a bumblebee queen’s fat body, which functions like a human liver, does not correctly produce enzymes required for healthy metabolism and detoxification from pesticides.

Without enough sugar in their diets, bumblebee queens can experience difficulty reproducing and shorter lifespans.

Hollis Woodard, assistant professor of entomology at UCR, has conducted multiple studies showing how loss of plant availability negatively affects the prolific pollinators. Previous research indicates a queen’s diet can impact how quickly her brood develops, or whether she’s able to live through hibernation.

Full article here: ScienceDaily

Common pesticide can make migrating birds lose their way, research shows (via the Guardian)

The experimental study is the first to directly show harm to songbirds, extending the known impacts of neonicotinoids beyond insects.

The world’s most widely used insecticide may cause migrating songbirds to lose their sense of direction and suffer drastic weight loss, according to new research.

The work is significant because it is the first direct evidence that neonicotinoids can harm songbirds and their migration, and it adds to small but growing research suggesting the pesticides may damage wildlife far beyond bees and other insects.

Full article here: the Guardian

Bristol declares ecological emergency (via Bristol City Council News)

The first major city to declare an ecological emergency.

Bristol has declared an Ecological Emergency in response to escalating threats to wildlife and ecosystems.

There has been a worrying decline in numbers and diversity of wildlife in the city and more widely in recent years, with 15% of British wildlife now at risk of extinction.

Full article here: Bristol City Council News

Insect declines and why they matter (via www.somersetwildlife.org)

In the last fifty years, we have reduced the abundance of wildlife on Earth dramatically. Many species that were once common are now scarce. Much attention focusses on declines of large, charismatic animals, but recent evidence suggests that abundance of insects may have fallen by 50% or more since 1970. This is troubling, because insects are vitally important, as food, pollinators and recyclers amongst other things.

These innumerable little creatures are far more important for the functioning of ecosystems than the large animals that tend to attract most of our attention. Insects are food for numerous larger animals including birds, bats, reptiles, amphibians and fish, and they perform vital roles such as pollination of crops and wildflowers, pest control and nutrient recycling.

This report was commissioned by the South West Wildlife Trusts.

Read the full report here: www.somersetwildlife.org