Information collected by a University of Ottawa team using data collected over a 115 year period and covering 66 bumblebee species, show that bumblebees are in drastic decline across Western Europe and North America, owing to higher and more extreme variations in temperature. The likelihood of the bee population surviving has declined by 30% in the course of a single human generation. The trend appears to be “consistent with a mass extinction”.
As pollinators, bees play a part in every aspect of the ecosystem. They support the growth of trees, flowers, and other plants, which serve as food and shelter for creatures large and small. They contribute to complex, interconnected ecosystems that allow a diverse number of different species to co-exist.
Bumble bees are social insects who live in colonies, usually located in nests underground containing between 50 and 500 individuals. Except for new queens, which hibernate in winter, bumble bee colonies die in late autumn.
Bumble bees do not produce honey, but pollination services they provide are worth more than that product would yield.
Commercially traded bumble bees have become big business during the past two decades as demand for bumble bee-pollinated berries, peppers and, especially, hothouse tomatoes has skyrocketed. But how are we to protect their numbers? (Sources: a variety of newspaper reports, including The Times, The Guardian and The Week)
My comments: Locusts swarming in East Africa, flooding, bigger than ever storms, California almost literally on fire – and now the bumblebees are dying. And to those with vested interests in the status quo (we know who you are!) dismiss it all as “fake news”. This gets scarier every week. Truly, it is getting more difficult to find ataraxia. But it doesn’t matter about me ; it’s the grand-children’s generation that I fear for. How we need leadership!