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Bumblebees

Researchers discover a shocking 96 percent decline in four major bumblebee species

Friday, January 07, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: bumblebees, decline, health news

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(NaturalNews) New research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that another vitally important pollinator, the bumblebee, is in serious decline. According to the figures, there has been a shocking 96 percent decline in four major species of the bumblebee, and an up to 87 percent decrease in their overall geographic coverage.

"We provide incontrovertible evidence that multiple Bombus species have experienced sharp population declines at the national level," explained researchers in their report. And in a phone interview with Reuters, study author Sydney Cameron from the University of Illinois, Urbana, explained that these bumblebee species are "one of the most important pollinators of native plants."

Over the course of three years, the research team evaluated 382 different sites in 40 states, and mulled data from over 73,000 museum records. They determined that bumblebees are needed to pollinate various fruits and vegetables, and that they accomplish this task in a very unique way.

"The 50 species (of bumblebees) in the United States are traditionally associated with prairies and with high alpine vegetations," said Cameron. "Just as important -- they land on a flower and they have this behavior called buzz pollination that enables them to cause pollen to fly off the flower."

In other words, without bumblebees and the special way in which they pollinate, entire segments of agriculture are threatened with extinction. Like honeybees (http://www.naturalnews.com/028899_honeybees_...) and bats (http://www.naturalnews.com/027971_pesticides...), bumblebees are vital in order to grow food. Without them, humanity will starve to death.

Misleadingly, many experts largely blame various pathogens, fungi and viruses for the die-offs of these pollinators, while giving only a brief mention -- if any at all -- to the toxic pesticides and herbicides that are increasingly being linked to things like colony collapse disorder (CCD), the name given to the mass bee die-off phenomenon. A recently leaked report, for instance, has revealed that a popular Bayer herbicide is responsible for killing off bees (http://www.naturalnews.com/030921_EPA_pestic...).

Sources for this story include:

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE7023P7...
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