Golf Course Management

MAY 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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05.18 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 71 CUTTING EDGE Teresa Carson Less mowing equals more bees Significant losses of bee populations have led scientists to look for ways to increase pol - linator habitat. In a study of 16 home lawns in suburban western Massachusetts, research - ers tested how lawn mowing frequency could affect bee abundance and diversity. Frequent lawn mowing removes flowers from weeds such as dandelions and clover that could oth - erwise provide pollen and nectar sources for bees. Lawns in the study were not treated with herbicides and were mowed one, two or three times a week. Lawns mowed once every three weeks had 2.5 times as many flow - ers and a greater diversity of bee species than lawns mowed at the other frequencies. How - ever, lawns mowed once every two weeks had a greater abundance of bees. e authors say that more lawn flowers that are more acces - sible (because of shorter grass) drastically improved bee habitat in lawns mowed every two weeks. Less frequent mowing could allow homeowners to provide bee habitat without removing their lawns or establishing polli - nator gardens. Over the course of the study, researchers observed 4,587 bees from 93 bee species; additional observations increased the total to 111 bee species, approximately 25% of the bee species in Massachusetts. To deter - mine whether these results are valid for other parts of the country, this research will need to be repeated in more U.S. cities. — S.B. Ler- man, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass.; A.R. Contosta, Ph.D., University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H.; J. Milam, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass.; and C. Bang, Ph.D., Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz. This research was published in Biological Conservation ( https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2018.01.025 ). Bee-friendly neonicotinoids? Concerns about the toxicity of neonicoti- noids to bees have resulted in bans on some crop pesticides in the European Union and have heightened worldwide awareness in re - gard to bee safety and pesticides. e neo- nicotinoids imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, which are N-nitroguanidine compounds, are known to be highly toxic to bees, but honey bees are far less sensitive to other neonic - otinoids, including N-cyanoamidine com- pounds such as thiacloprid. Previous work has indicated that the N-cyanoamidine com - pounds are not harmful because they are rap- idly metabolized by the bees. Researchers from the Rothamsted Research and the University of Exeter (both in the United Kingdom) and Bayer AG in Germany have discovered the specific genes and enzymes involved in the rapid metabolism of some neonicotinoids. e two most economically important bee species, honey bees and bumble bees, show similar re - sponses to these neonicotinoids. is infor- mation about biochemical defense systems of bees will allow researchers to develop new pes - ticides that will not be harmful to bee health. — C. Manjon, Bayer AG, 40789 Monheim, Germany; B.J. Troczka, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, UK; M. Zaworra, Bayer AG, 40789 Monheim, and Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms University Bonn, Germany; C. Bass (c.bass@exeter.ac.uk), Univer - sity of Exeter, Penryn, Cornwall, UK; and R. Nauen (ralf.nauen@bayer.com), Bayer AG, 40789 Mon - heim, Germany, and others. This research was published in Current Biology ( https:// doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2018.02.045 ) Teresa Carson (tcarson@gcsaa.org) is GCM 's science editor. Photo by Teresa Carson Photo courtesy of Susannah Lerman/UMass Amherst

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