Archive for Decline
www.guardian.co.uk 3rd January 2011
The most comprehensive study to have ever been carried out on bee populations in the USA has come to a finish, and with startling results. The research team from the University of Illinois found that the ‘the abundance of four common species of bumblebees in the US has dropped by 96% in just the past few decades’. The reduced size of the bee populations means inbreeding and disease are likely to effect the remaining insects. Bees are essential for the pollination of 90% of the world’s commercial plants including coffee, soya beans, and cotton. Bumblebees are important in the US particularly for the pollination of tomato and berry plants ‘thanks to their large body size, long tongues, and high-frequency buzzing, which helps release pollen from flowers’. No single reason has been attributed to the bee decline although new diseases, changing habitats, and the increased use of fertilisers have all been cited.