Climate Change is Killing Bumble Bees
A new study in the journal Science found that the odds of seeing bumblebees have reduced by 30% since the 20th century. The study found that climate extremes are to blame for the change.
Bumblebees find it difficult to thrive in places where temperatures increase alongside precipitation. The distribution of bumblebee species is shifting alongside the climate. Species that were found during the 20th century in certain areas are no longer there.
Dr. Jeremy Kerr, senior author and biology professor at the University of Ottawa said of the findings, ” It’s not just that we’re looking at what our kids will experience; it’s that we are looking back not even a full generation, just to when we were kids, and saying, ‘Could we take our children to places we loved and find what we found?’ What our study says is that that answer is no across entire continents.”
The likelihood of finding bumblebee species dropped 46% in North America, according to the study. Dr. Kerr continued, ” The amount of local extinctions we saw were eight times more common than these colonization events. Climate change is making these species disappear at a rate they couldn’t keep up with at all to replace themselves.”
The plants, including crops that rely on bumblebees, will suffer if the populations continue to decline, according to Haley Todd, director of programs at Planet Bee. Bees are critical to our environment because of the ecosystem services, like pollination, that they provide.