By Arielle Ollagnon

It seems that every time I look at the news, I immediately find myself wanting to shut it off or exit my tab. Major headlines and their focus on crises make it easy to forget there are still amazing things going on in the world, and we could use some more happy news in our lives. Here are a few short summaries of my favourite stories from this week!

Healthy Bees

It is not often that we hear about the health and prosperity of bee colonies, which is surprising given that we rely on bees to pollinate a huge number of our crops. However, recent data collections released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that some states are experiencing growths in colony numbers of 70% or more, and this is just in the U.S. alone. The USDA Bees Page  has a wealth of information on how bees impact our economy, ecosystems, and everyday lives. Bees are pretty cool insects. Sterile female worker bees, which make up the majority of the colony’s population, typically live from 5 to 7 weeks and provide nearly all the colony’s nonreproductive labor. Worker bees progress through different behavioral stages in which they perform distinct tasks such as cell cleaning, brood feeding, and comb building, and then move on to foraging for sustenance and water. Other bees in the colony include a single egg-laying queen and several hundred males that exist primarily to reproduce. There are over 250 species of bee in the UK: 25 species of bumble bee, 224 species of solitary bee and one honey bee species. Did you know that we also have bees on the roof at the Academy? 

Newborn Sloth

A two-toed sloth was born at the London Zoo. These cute little sloths are one of the world’s slowest mammals, living their lives up in the treetops of forests in South America. They sleep A LOT: around 15-20 hours a day. You would think this would give them the energy to be quick moving, but this is certainly not the case. You can watch Truffle the newborn sloth cub exploring their new surroundings here.

Lockdown Waste Put to Use

When Australia’s coronavirus lockdown forced bars and restaurants to shut down in March, breweries were left with huge inventories of unsold, stale beer. However, instead of going to waste, some expired ales and lagers in the state of South Australia have been serving a new purpose: powering a water treatment plant. The Torrens Island water treatment plant is powered by biogas created by combining organic industrial waste with sewage which is then used to generate electricity to power the whole facility. Not the silver lining anyone thought would have come from COVID!

Image credit: ZSL London Zoo
Posted by:RAMpage Website

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