Bumblebees Scarce in Midwest
Studies suggest they're also in trouble, just like honeybees
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 28, 2013 6:34 PM CST
The photo provided by amateur Illinois bee spotter Johanna James-Hein, shows a rusty-patched bumblebee in Peoria, Ill.   (AP Photo/Johanna James-Heinz)

(Newser) – It is not just honeybees that are in trouble. The fuzzy American bumblebee seems to be disappearing in the Midwest. Two new studies in today's journal Science conclude that wild bees, including the American bumblebee, are increasingly important in pollinating flowers and crops that provide us with food. And, at least in the Midwest, they seem to be dwindling in an alarming manner, possibly from disease and parasites.

Researchers at Montana State University could find only half the species of wild bees that had been catalogued a century ago, 54 of 109 types. "That's a significant decline," says one of the researchers. "It's a scary decline." And what's most noticeable is the near absence of one particular species, the yellow-and-black American bumblebee, which has previously been the most common bee in the Midwest. In 447 hours of searching, the MSU researchers found only one.

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Showing 3 of 42 comments
Mar 1, 2013 10:42 AM CST
I can't remember the last time I saw a bumblebee, or a honey bee.
Mar 1, 2013 8:14 AM CST
The bee death epidemic is being caused by viral disease & widespread parasitic infestations. But the paranoids are too busy raving about conspiracy BS to deal with reality.
Feb 28, 2013 11:59 PM CST
this is a beginning of a great famine to come. 1st the droughts 2nd the bees that pollinate the foods we eat. soon the price of bread will be $20