Scientists are discovering that wild bees are far better pollinators than the honeybees that dominate commercial agriculture, according to FERN's latest story, published with HuffPost. But that discovery, which coincides with a worldwide collapse in pollinator numbers, spotlights a "desperate need" for new approaches to farming that work with these wild bees.(No paywall)
Scientists at Cornell University "found a shocker" when they analyzed two dozen environmental factors that may be at play in the decline in bumblebee populations: "Fungicides," says a Cornell release. "The scientists discovered what they call 'landscape-scale' connections between fungicide usage, pathogen prevalence and declines of endangered U.S. bumblebees."
Wild bumblebee queens exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides were 26 percent less likely to lay eggs than unexposed queens, says a study published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.
The environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council sued the Interior Department for delaying the listing of the rusty patched bumble bee as an endangered species. The listing was supposed to take effect on Feb. 10 but it has been delayed until March 21 under the regulatory freeze announced by the Trump administration.
The Obama administration has granted endangered-species protection to the rusty-patched bumblebee — the first bumblebee in the United States, and the first bee of any kind in the lower 48 states to get the designation, says The New York Times. Seven other bees are listed, but they are all from Hawaii.