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Climate Change Causes the Population of Bumble Bees To Decline


(USA Today, 2021)

IMPACT of Findings

Bumblebees’ population decreasing severely impacts ecosystem services. A very crucial ecosystem service bumblebees provide is pollination. Both humans and plants rely on pollination daily. Bumblebees are known as the best pollinators as they are able to fly faster and farther than many pollinating insects. They also start pollinating earlier in the spring and end later in fall, which makes them critical pollinators for some early and late blooming plants. Bumblebees also have tolerance for cool conditions and long distance flights in habitats such as high mountains and deserts, where plants may be miles away from each other. This allows them to pollinate in many diverse landscapes, whereas not many other insects are able to do this.


METHODS + RESULTS

The study had bumblebee sighting datasets with approximately 550,000 observations of 66 bumble bees from Europe and North America, taken from 1902-1974 (baseline) and 2000-2014 (recent).The two distinct timelines allowed the tracking of extinction, presence of bumblebees over century of climate change and new areas in which they colonized. Through analyzing the data, it was concluded that the average presence of bumblebee occupying areas dropped by 46% in North America and by 17% in Europe. The richness (diversity) also declined in many areas across both continents (Soroye, et. al, 2022).


LIMITATIONS of the Study

There are certain limitations to this study as the data collected on observed richness in Europe may be inaccurate. Data were collected from regions that were cooler between the period 1901-1974 and to date have not been unusually hot compared to regions in North America, Thus, the decline of species richness reported for Europe is most likely an underestimation (Soroye, et. al, 2022).


SOLUTIONS

Addressing climate change is the primary step to lessen the impacts on the bumble bee populations. Many people are not aware of the importance of bumble bees in our day to day lives, which is another point that needs to be addressed. Preserving natural areas in colder climates, in which the bumble bees thrive, can be crucial to keep bumblebees from declining. Some at home steps the general public can take is to plant bee friendly plants in their gardens (i.e. raspberries) to increase the bumblebee population.

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