Climate change is causing a general decline in bumblebee populations on all continents, according to a new study published in the journal Science,media The Verge reported. The authors found that bumblebee populations were 30 percent less likely to survive anywhere in North America or Europe as temperatures rose. Pesticides, habitat loss and pathogens have hit bumblebee populations hard. However, the new study singled out the effects of climate change on bumblebees. Sadly, bees have a hard time adapting to a warming world.
Peter Soroye, lead author of the study, told The Verge: “If things go on and nothing changes, then we can really start to see many of these species disappear forever.” It’s not just a bee tragedy. It’s also bad news for all pollinating plants and people who eat fruits (vegetables). “We’re going to lose a lot of color on the plate,” Soroye said. For example, natural pollination of tomatoes, pumpkins and berries is largely aided by insects such as bees. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has said that about one-third of human diets come from insect-pollinating plants.
For the study, Soroye and colleagues examined data on 66 bumblebee populations in North America and Europe between 1900 and 2015. They mapped the bees known as “homes” and the gradual changes in their distribution. They found that some bumblebees disappeared where they had exceeded the limits of bumblebee’s traditional existence. Some bumblebees are home to colder areas.
These are just the latest findings, suggesting that the outlook for bumblebee populations is uncertain, as climate change is only on top of other stressors. According to a 2011 study, the relative abundance of the four bumblebees in the United States has declined by 96 percent, while its habitat range has shrunk by 87 percent in just 20 years. Rusty-colored bumblebees in the Midwest and East Coast of the United States were listed as endangered in 2017. Seven other species of Hawaii bumblebee were added to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species list in 2016.
“Sometimes it’s really hard because these papers are very shocking and frustrating,” said Rebecca Irwin, director of the graduate biology program at North Carolina State University, who was not involved in the study. This seems to be a powerful pattern that has been observed in many studies and is therefore very worrying. “
“Basically, we’re looking at the end of the world, and extinction is the end of the world of species,” said Jeremy Kerr, a biologist at the University of Ottawa and co-author of the study. We also need some good news. “