European Bumblebees Threatened With Extinction

B. McPherson
Bumblebees are part of the free services we receive from Mother Nature

Spring in Europe will see fewer bumblebees. Bumblebees are those large, wild bees that don’t look as if they could get off the ground, but they do. They are docile creatures that only ask that we leave them some forage and don’t poison them. Unfortunately about a quarter of the 68 species residing in Europe are red-listed or critically endangered. Nearly half of the species are in decline.

A study done by the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) has warned people that the loss of these species will be catastrophic to food producers.

The study, which contributes to the European Red List of pollinators and is part of the Status and Trends of European Pollinators (STEP) project, stresses that three of the five “most important insect pollinators of European crops” are bumblebee species. RT

Bumblebees are important pollinators of many of our food crops. Some food crops like English peas are self-pollinating, others like grains are wind pollinated, but many fruits and vegetables that grace our modern tables have been aided for free by wild bees.

Three big factors that are putting pressure on the wild bee populations are climate change, habitat loss as farmers turf out hedgerows and buffer zones which provide forage and shelter, and the widespread use of insecticides. Insecticides sprayed on crops and those ‘built in’ in the GM plants poison and weaken the bees. There is also speculation by scientists that some of the diseases that hit the domestic honeybee are spreading to their wild sisters.

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