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Sunday, January 9, 2011

96% of bees start to disappear in the US

Reports have it that birds and fish "naturally die" by the thousands according to scientists. Does that mean that the public should breathe a sigh of relief and need not panic even if they occur in various continents almost at the same time?
Researchers in the University of Illinois said on Monday that four species of bumblebees that were once thickly-populated are now close to extinction.
In fact, there was a 96 percent decrease in the four species of bees according to a study conducted in the US university, which confirmed that the agriculturally vital insects are being affected worldwide.
The study also said that the bees' range had decreased up to 87 percent.
A disease-producing organism may be partly involved for honeybees, however, there is evidence that the diminishing breeding sites are a causative factor for the bees' population decline.
Describing the phenomenon as "alarming," researchers said in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, "We provide incontrovertible evidence that multipleBombus species have experienced sharp population declines at the national level."
Principal investigator Sydney Cameron said in a phone interview, "These are one of the most important pollinators of native plants."
Cameron added, "The 50 species (of bumblebees) in the United States are traditionally associated with prairies and with high alpine vegetations."
The research team pinpointed the causes on many factors such as fungi, parasites and viruses, as well as stress and pesticides.
Bumblebees have also been documented to start disappearing in Asia and Europe but a large-scale study have not been conducted in the US.
Having conducted the three-year study in 382 sites across 40 states, Cameron concluded, "This is a wake-up call that bumblebee species are declining not only in Europe, not only in Asia, but also in North America."
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