The number of bumblebee sightings has reduced by more than 30% since the beginning of the 20th century and climate change is largely to blame.
We've all been guilty of dodging bumblebees time and again as kids or watching them flitting around flowers in our gardens. But, truth be told, it all seems to be an occurrence of the past and most of us have rarely encountered them in recent times. That's because their population has deteriorated over the last few years owing to changing weather patterns, according to a study published in Science mag. The number of bumblebee sightings has reduced by more than 30% since the beginning of the 20th century, the report said.
A group of researchers from the University of Ottawa has carefully documented the changes in the population of over 66 different bumblebee species across the US and Europe and the impact climate change has had on them. Their findings reveal that as climate change causes temperature and precipitation to increase beyond their tolerance levels, the chances of them inching towards extinction multiplies.
UK's Large Mason Bee Almost Extinct— SEEDBALL 🐝 (@seed_ball) January 31, 2020
Sadly this beauty is facing extinction due to loss of UK's wild grasslands. Already extinct in England, it is now only found on two coastal sites in Wales.
Image: © Designed by Anna Ekelund - Royal Mail Group Ltd 2015 pic.twitter.com/0tgkShA8UA
Dr. Jeremy Kerr, a biology professor at the University of Ottawa and senior author of the study was quoted by CNN as saying: "The things [we] grew up with as kids are fading away very fast. It's not just that we're looking at what our kids will experience; it's that we are looking back not even a full generation, just to when we were kids, and saying, 'Could we take our children to places we loved and find what we found?' What our study says is that that answer is no across entire continents."
Climate change isn't the only aspect affecting the Bumblebee population, according to the study. The widespread use of pesticides and the fall in flora across both the continents have also played their part in pushing the insects towards extinction, and these weren't even touched upon in the research.
"Interactions between these factors are expected to accelerate biodiversity loss for bumblebees and other [species] over broad areas," the study said. However, there are still "different and distinct conservation actions that can help combat these drivers of extinction," said Peter Soroye, co-author and PhD candidate at the University of Ottawa. "Those include reducing the use of pesticides, planting a diverse array of flowers and shrubs to prevent habitat loss and providing bumblebees with occasional shelter from the sun "during extreme weather events that they're being subjected to more frequently because of climate change."
Kerr added: "There are things we can do and recovery is a feasible thing. We're not saying that what we all need to do is immediately start living in a hut in the woods to recover the situation. It points to a hopeful direction if we choose to intervene."Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.