The one objection I would have is the title – fortunately, extinction is not yet an issue…Read more
Canada and the US have about 50 species of native bumblebees. For five of them, a rapid decline has been observed since the 1990s. Three species — Bombus affinis, B. terricola, and B. occidentalis — will now be submitted to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species (cf NatureNews: Plight of the bumblebee) (via evolvimus).
Two main reasons for the decline are discussed. One is a fungal pathogen, Nosema bombi, that might have been introduced with commercially used bumblebees from Europe. The other might be climate change, which may cause a shift in flowering times and nectarflow that bumblebees are not adapted to.
Our special friend B. griseocollis still seems to do okay, though :)
Also this month, Anna Morkeski and Anne Averill of the University of Massachussetts published “Wild Bee Status and Evidence for Pathogen ‘Spillover’ with Honey Bees” in the American Bee Journal and in Bee Culture with a very good overview over the current research into bumblebee-decline.
(photo: A. Morkeski)