1. Приметы весны: проснулись шмели

    • About an old maid, Bumblebee and the British Navy

      There's an old joke, illustrating that everything is connected to everything - depending on the power of the British fleet on the number of spinsters. Rummaging through the internet, I found the original source:

      "Darwin discovered that bumblebees with their long proboscis - the only insects that can pollinate deep tubular flowers of red clover. From this he concluded that the spread of red clover in England is explained by the abundance of bumblebees. In this case, referring to one of the entomological works, he points out that most often found near the nest of bumblebees towns and villages, where they are less than ruining vole feeding on larvae and pupae. Why, in the vicinity of towns and villages little voles? Yes, because there are lots of cats, which greatly reduces the populations of voles. A German scientist continued this argument as follows: if it is proved, he said that cats are responsible for the prevalence in England clover - the main cattle feed and clover ecologically associated with the British Navy, as the beef - the staple food of sailors, it follows that cats belongs to the main merit is that Britain is a great maritime power. The next step did Thomas Huxley, he argued - partly in jest - that because cats in England kept mostly spinsters, the British might be logically - and environmentally - derived from "koshkolyubiya" numerous British old ladies "(P. Farb, 1971 ).

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    • Why so few bees?

      Accidentally caught the eye of a recent study of the International Union for Nature Conservation (International Union For Conservation of Nature, IUCN) about bumblebees. It turns out that almost a quarter of the European bumblebee species are threatened with extinction, and one of the main reasons - the disappearance of clover, the main host plants for some species of bumblebees.

      I did not conduct scientific research - but it seems to me that the bees are in Moscow was much smaller than it was in the days of my childhood.

      Of course, the number of bees may be adversely affected by various factors - habitat destruction (hard to find a place to nest), pollution (especially because of the exhaust gases). But perhaps, like other European bumblebees, Moscow is still missing and feed?

      Now on urban lawns grow one herb (cereals), and earlier (in the 1970s and 80s), much of it was covered with clover (mostly creeping, "Kashka", but also other kinds of met - hybrid, red and more rare) . The current purity lawns achieved mainly through the use of special herbicides, harmless to crops, but those who kill bipartite lawn "weeds" - dandelions, clover, etc. But maybe, just a drab lawn vegetation species and caused decrease in the number of bumblebees Moscow? Maybe they too lacking in clover? And all food plants? Something on the lawns of pure herbs bumblebees have nothing.

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    • Spring anomalies - a record heat in Moscow

      This year, spring started in February - for the whole month has never been a serious frost and snow slowly descended, so that by March it left quite a bit thaw was more than the snow-covered ground.

      And in March - just in time for Women's Day - already quite warmed up and began records, which lasted the entire month: from the beginning of March in Moscow, was beaten 7 temperature records of the day - 8, 9, 10, 22, 23 and 24 March. March 25 has been broken since the beginning of the eighth month of the temperature record - the air in the capital warmed to 19.7 degrees.

      I think, in March of heat - about 20 degrees - had never happened.

      And throughout central Russia was about the same.

      Not surprisingly, all signs of spring - first flowers and insects first - we saw almost a month earlier than usual. Last year, for example, in mid-April, the snow was more than in the beginning of March this year - and coltsfoot then also appeared in mid-April, and this year - in early March. Around the same time in Moscow were first spotted butterflies and beetles, and at the beginning of the second decade - flies and wasps.

      But on the first Moscow bumblebee told us only on March 26. But I think actually woke bumblebees before - just as long as in our project too few participants, so we missed the beginning of a hornet's departure. Perhaps the reason and that in bumblebees did not so much, and they caught the eye of anyone of us.

      It is hoped that in the future, with increasing number of participants in the project, we can much more accurately track the very first appearance of bumblebees and other insects hibernated.

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