Tuesday, 4 January 2011

The Bee All and End All?

Disturbing news from the USA that 4 species of their 'common' Bumblebees have shown  recent catastrophic reductions in both numbers (up to 96% in one case) and geographical distribution (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jan/03/bumblebees-study-us-decline?INTCMP=SRCH ). The species affected show a very high level of infection with the pathogen Nosema bombi  (imported from Europe) but other factors such as the use of pesticides and changes in land management may be involved in the losses. These bees, along with hoverflies (also in decline), are incredibly important in the fertilisation of crop plants.

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