According to new findings, wild bumblebee numbers are dwindling on both American and European continents due to rising temperatures caused by global warming.
Researchers noted that the tiny insects cannot adapt to higher temperatures in the southern limits of their ranges, so they would rather die than moving north.
Researchers are puzzled because bumblebees failed to move in the cooler northern regions where global warming created new welcoming environments for them to thrive.
“They just aren’t colonizing new areas to track rapid, human-caused climate change,”
Honeybees also have their own problems. In recent years, they mysteriously died off in some parts because of the so-called colony collapse disorder. So, bee keepers are concerned that in the future we would no longer have pollinators to take care of our crops.
Additionally, honeybee populations are challenged by the overuse of pesticides, loss of habitat, and invasive bee parasites.
Yet, the news about wild bumblebees is even more concerning than the fate of honeybees, researchers noted. Bumblebees are the most hardworking pollinators. Unlike their domesticated peers, they continue their pollinating work from early spring to late fall, noted lead author of the study Laurence Packer, a researcher from the York University in Toronto.
Bumblebees also pollinate indiscriminately various types of plants, while other bees have their own favorite plants. Plus, wild bumblebees can buzz pollinate flowers that are hard to pollinate such as the tomato flowers, experts explained.
Furthermore, bumblebees’ pollinating work is worth $3 billion each year, reports show.
In their research, biologists analyzed 67 bumblebee species and their habitat ranges over the course of more than 70 years. Scientists learned that the insect’s range lost 186 miles in the meantime. The process was accelerated greatly after 1974 when the global warming’s effects became more visible.
But climate change has also a bright side – northern altitudes became warmer so the bee populations could easily accommodate there. But they didn’t.
The recent study which was published last week in the journal Science didn’t reveal any link between declining bumblebee populations and use of pesticide or man-made habitat loss.
Researchers concluded that bumblebees are killed by the heat waves in their ranges’ southern parts.
On the other hand, the research team couldn’t figure out why the pollinators didn’t fly north to make up lost habitat. Sheila Coila co-author of the study says that the climate change occurs so quickly that the wild bees can’t adjust and reproduce fast enough to off set it.
Image Source: Garden Variety News
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