“Three French nationals have been detained in India after they were allegedly caught collecting butterflies, moths and beetles. Forestry officials in the northern state of Sikkim detained the trio on Friday in a Himalayan forest. They were allegedly in possession of 41 insects, contravening the Wildlife Act….Seven years ago two Russians were arrested under similar charges, and subsequent investigations found that they had been collecting rare species of butterflies. They served a short prison sentence.”
University of Minnesota scientists are field testing a beneficial insect, a stingless wasp from China also known as Binodoxys communis, that kills soybean aphids. A successful field test would be a major breakthrough in controlling a damaging crop pest….The soybean aphid first appeared in Minnesota fields in 2000 and today costs soybean growers an estimated $200 million annually in lost crop yields and spraying costs in Minnesota alone. The national cost is much higher.
“Gardens clearly provide an important habitat for bumblebees and, although in the countryside the total area occupied by field margins and hedgerows is relatively small, sympathetic management — as encouraged by current environmental stewardship schemes — could improve bumblebee nesting opportunities in farmland.”
As well as providing important information on which habitats are the most important for bumblebee nests, the study also shows what a valuable contribution members of the public can make to ecological research. “We were delighted that people volunteered to do the survey. The success of the survey shows that public participation is very useful for monitoring bumblebees,” says Osborne.