Many blame it on the climate change but who caused it?
We people are held accountable for the changes in climate. Due to different pollution in land, water, air and even in the universe that we made, it is now getting back to us. Not only humans are experiencing the repercussions of our ingratitude to nature and negligence but also the smallest of living things such as the bumblebee.
Generally, we rely on insects, particular bees to pollinate flowers and it is where farmers find them very helpful. They were able to harvest bountiful crops with quality fruits and vegetables. Bumblebee also wards off other harmful insects that damage the crops.
Threats to bumblebee population
However, due to the persistent use of pesticides these farmers’ best friends are getting eradicated intentionally or not. Bumblebee queens are the most affected since they make nests, lay eggs and keep larvas warm while nourishing them. The progress of the colony banks on the queen’s solitary task. Due to the declining numbers of pollinators specifically bumblebee, the European Union agreed to ban the use of pesticides permanently.
According to the study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, University of
California Riverside researchers point out that environmental threats add to the stress of bumblebee queens. Assistant professor of Entomology Hollis Woodard and his team discovered that prolonged exposure to insecticides and poor diet have negatives effects to the already declining numbers of the number one pollinator.
Bumblebee plays a major role both in the natural and agronomic ecosystems. Because of their agility, they are very much competent at delivering pollen from one flower to another.
“Queens are probably already a bottleneck for bumblebee population dynamics. If a queen dies because of exposure to manmade stressors, then a nest full of hundreds of important pollinators simply won’t exist,” says Woodard.
Woodard and his team also discovered that the shrinking diversity of flowers add stress to bumblebee because of increased agricultural land use. Some are used to graze livestock while global changes also contribute.
Bumblebees have good memories
Bumblebees are able to identify their target flowers based on the invisible patterns of scent that the petals emit. A combined scientists’ team effort from the Queen Mary University of London and the University of Bristol, suggests that the cell distribution is arranged in a way the black and yellow-striped insects can decipher.
The team found that the bees that landed at the flower’s edge could determine the difference in the smell at the center. Some possess indications of cells with essences that direct bumblebee and other pollinating species close to the nectar.
After the bees memorized the pattern, scientists noticed that the insects chose to step into other unscented flowers with same visual patterns. The bumblebees demonstrated what they have learned to smell and identify other flowers.
Wisconsin citizens save bumblebees
Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, the rusty- patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) is already in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered list. The Wisconsin Bumble Bee Brigade is educating volunteers throughout the state to take pictures of bees and identify them. They would then communicate their field work with both public and researchers.
The brigade is a project of the DNR and Wisconsin Aquatic and Terrestrial Resources Directory and launched in 2018 spring. It is also a part of the Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network which aims to aid researchers to collect data regarding the country’s wildlife and waters.