Scientists alarmed as bumblebee numbers plunge worldwide

March 5, 2011- Bumblebees, also known as Bombus terristris, are the pollinating cousins of wasps and hornets. They are the number one pollinator for wild growing plants as well as commercial agriculture; you may have seen them flitting around your Gran’s tomato plants on summer evenings, busy at work. However, these popular and beloved buzzing insects that help bring us all kinds of food– from coffee beans to fresh apples — bring alarming news. In the past few decades scientific studies have found that increasing numbers of bumblebee colonies are disappearing. It’s possible that Bombus affinis, one of the many bumblebee subspecies native to North America, have all but died out. Between 1976 and 2006, there was a huge loss in the number of wild bumblebee colonies; they are now almost completely gone. Not only North America is suffering from this bumblebee disappearance; in the UK, over the past 70 years 3 out of 24 native bumblebee species have gone extinct. Why are bumblebees suddenly taking leave of their duties as master pollinators? Well, it appears that no one person can agree on a single cause. Scientific evidence strongly suggests that the combination of insecticides and disease from imported bees, bred in greenhouses, are two main causes of bee deaths. One highly dangerous group of insecticides, called neonicotinoids, have been used since the 90s in North America on a wide variety of crops. The bees’ fragile internal organs and furry bodies are extremely susceptible to toxic chemicals, and as many farmers douse their crops with these chemicals, the bees and crops suffer together. Bumblebees also find it very difficult to adapt to the changing environment as the air gets hotter and hotter. Climate change, environmental stress, harmful chemicals- these are all human induced symptoms that are believed to be contributing to rapid bee extinction. Without the bees, our crops will not receive the healthy and widely spread pollination needed to continue reproducing, and the quality of our worldwide produce will be compromised. Bumblebees aren’t the only ones suffering from such causes like global warming and climate change. All species, from whales to Siberian tigers to tiny amphibians, are dying because of similar reasons. –Earth Times
Dire implications for food production: “In fact, about one-third of the human diet comes from insect-pollinated plants, and the honeybee is responsible for 80 percent of that pollination, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Even cattle, which feed on alfalfa, depend on bees. So if the collapse worsens, we could end up being “stuck with grains and water,” said Kevin Hackett, the national program leader for USDA’s bee and pollination program. “This is the biggest general threat to our food supply,” Hackett said. -Fox News
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This entry was posted in Dark Ages, Earth Changes, Environmental Threat, Food chain unraveling, Mass animal deaths. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Scientists alarmed as bumblebee numbers plunge worldwide

  1. JB says:

    I agree that farming practices that favor chemical controls have had a marked negative effect on bee populations. At the same time there has not been a significant y 0 y increase that would match the bee population decline. Have studies been done that match acres farmed/bee population decline? Maybe I’m wrong but I would be looking at what things affect the way bees live and flourish and what prevents it. Again, pesticides are too obvious. I would suggest graphing the explosion in cell phone use and compare it with the decline of the bee population.

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  2. David A. Linge says:

    I have lived in the southern interior of British Columbia since 1970. Bumblebees disappeared from this area almost completely starting in about 1980. Since 2009, I have seen many bumblebees here again. I had thought they had sadly become extinct. In 1973, 3 inch long, brightly coloured dragonflies where everywhere to be seen. By 1978, they had vanished completely. Just this summer (August, 2012), my son and I have seen about 20, 1 1/2 inch long, less brightly coloured dragonflies in our garden, so I do hope they are making a comeback. On a final note, I have not seen a single ladybug this year. I would suspect a combination of pesticides, and destruction of natural habitat as major contributing factors in this decline.

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