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Darwin the Bee Dog is helping save our declining bee population – Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri 2021-07-30 11:21:43 –

Summit County, Colorado — Bees are an important part of balancing our environment, and without them, billions of dollars of crops could be lost and many types of plants could go extinct. ..

Over the last few years, one-third of US honeybee populations have plummeted, and many scientists are looking for ways to protect these precious pollen maters.

However, it is a unique scientist who works in the mountains of Colorado every summer. Darwin is a 2-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer. He is the only dog ​​in the country trained to sniff out wild bee nests hidden underground.

Darwin wears a suit every day, and he and his owner, the researcher Jacqueline Starve, are looking for signs of alpine bumblebees working and nesting in the highlands.

“In the middle of summer, there is no such thing as a wildflower-covered alpine meadow,” Starve said. “This place is just a dream to work.”

Keren Harrell

Her mission is what she has dreamed of for years.

“I had dreamed of it since I was little, but I loved” K-9 to 5 “, which had a working dog on Animal Planet, and it was like” Oh my god! “I always loved dogs. “Staab said. “Then I had a sustainable farm in Richlands, NC for two years, and I was really into sustainable farming. It’s a bug, especially hay fever,” she said outside. Starve explains how he fell into this study. In Breckenridge, Summit County.

Her beautiful office is full of information that only Darwin can find, but Information Starve and a team of researchers want to know.

“Bumblebee nesting is so difficult to find that it is not well known,” says Starve. “Basically, the only way to find the exact location of a bumblebee’s nest is like accidentally encountering a dog or a detection dog. That’s why he’s so important.”

Darwin sniffs out the material from which the nest is made and gives him the “point” of his signature when he finds a target.

He’s only done this for a short time, but was able to get data from Appalachian State University in North Carolina that Starve and her team couldn’t have imagined could find.

“We did some genomic sequencing and found that it was a different species!” Starb exclaimed.

The nests Darwin found show how these bees survive in harsh conditions and what flowers they like. All such data is valuable to protect these pollen maters.

“To save the seeds, we need to know every piece of the puzzle,” says Starve.

And she is determined to help save the bumblebee, which is disappearing more and more every year.

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Keren Harrell

“Currently, one-third of bumblebees are facing decline, especially the abundant specialty species here,” says Staab.

This decline is a combination of many factors, but Staab says climate change and extreme weather are at great risk along with the loss of habitat for many species.

Bees are losing land to people through agriculture and urban expansion. Without these bees, pollinating crops such as cherries, blueberries, apples and watermelons could have a hard time surviving.

Losing bees creates a trickle-down effect. If bees do not pollinate plants, we lose plant diversity and without certain plants animals may not be able to survive. Ultimately, the entire ecosystem can look completely different.

“There will be a variety of ecological consequences,” says Staab.

That’s why Starve wanders the woods for hours every day looking for small holes in the Earth. It is these windows to another world that can help turn a sour situation into a sweet one.

“If we really start working now and are working on understanding what it takes to protect pollen maters, protect land, nest and overwinter, we still have time to make a difference,” Starve said. .. “It’s not all fate and darkness. We can work together to protect our precious native pollen maters.”

In particular, a man’s best friend is lending a helping foot. Starve says it will look even brighter next year. Her team is trying to add a second bee dog to the team.

You can follow the adventures of Darwin the Bee Dog on social media, here.



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