Tag Archives: bees

The Slow Poisoning of the UK’s Bees (and What to Do About It)

[Photo by David Short via Flickr & Creative Commons 2.0]

“By Request” is a series of posts where I track down studies that answer questions asked by you, my blog’s readers. 

High School Friend Elna asked: Impending extinction of bees- what can prevent?”

That’s a tough question to answer, because some bee populations are at much higher risk than others. Domesticated honey bee numbers are actually growing, largely due to the large scale industrialized pollination companies, which  bring giant swarms to farmers whose crops rely on bees.

Bees are an enormously diverse group that includes over 20,000 species, spread over 6 continents. (As far as we know, there are no bees in Antarctica.)  Like other animals, bees can be vulnerable to habitat loss, changing temperatures, and pollution.  However, bees do have one persistent problem that stands out: they keep getting caught in the line of fire when humans spray insecticides.

Well, bees are insects, after all.

However, bees are not equally vulnerable to all pesticides.

For example, when Ben Woodcock and his colleagues at the UK’s Natural Environmental Research Council’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology published a study which analyzed 18 years’ worth of data on 62 species of British bees, they found that some bee species’ populations are holding steady in the face of insecticides, while others aren’t.

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Coming to News Stands Near You / Tell Me What You Want, What You Really Really Want

[A statue of Charles Darwin. CGP Grey/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)]

First things first: This August you’ll be able to buy a piece of my writing (on real paper) at a bookstore or newsstand near you! 

I have a front-of-book story about bacterial biofilms and how we can attack them with sugar-cutting enzymes out in the August issue of Scientific American.

You could read it online OR you could do me and all other emerging science writers a solid by buying an actual copy of one of our flagship magazines. 

Or you could do us a digital solid by purchasing a digital subscription to an outlet that pays us. (If you’re curious about why I’m so adamant about outlets that pay me making bank, read Bethany Brookshire’s excellent spiel on the subject.)

Also, over at Lateral, we have a new history & philosophy article out about why “Darwin Didn’t Delay” by the awesome Andrew Katsis. It’s part of Lateral’s SLOW issue and the first history & philosophy piece to debut with me as editor, so I hope you check it out!

But onward into the future! A few days ago, I internet-stumbled across a post by journalist Jennifer Brandel. Her company, Hearken, helps news outlets reach out to audience members and ask for story ideas! And not in a “Please-take-this-five-minute-survey way. As in, audience members can submit questions, participate in reporting, and give feedback to the journalists who are writing the story. 

Immediately, I realized that’s the sort of process I want to incorporate on this blog. 

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