MAR 16, 2017 7:45 AM PDT

The Key to Bumblebee Survival is a Habitat Rich in Flowers

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

With bumblebee populations on the decline, many are wondering what we can do to help overturn the growing problem.

Bumblebee populations are on the decline, but perhaps increasing the availability of their food sources can help increase their populations.

Image Credit: Scw1217/Pixabay

To begin, you have to understand why they’re on the decline in the first place, and there are two major reasons:

  • Too much use of pesticides that happen to have negative effects on pollinators, such as bumblebees

  • Multiplication of agriculture and land development, which takes away from their natural habitat

While there are definitely other causes that can be attributed to their decline, these two reasons have the heaviest impact on bumblebee numbers. Unfortunately, as neither of these issues are expected to let up any time soon, there’s really only one thing we can do to help save the bumblebees.

According to a study published in the journal Nature, flower-rich habitats are essential to helping the little honey-producing critters from going extinct.

The results of the study come from perhaps one of the largest wild bumblebee population surveys ever conducted. Not only did the researchers use DNA observations between three different bumblebee species (Bombus terrestris, Bombus lapidarius, and Bombus pascuorum), but they also paid close attention to the regions where they were collected.

Despite how hard it was to find bee colonies in the wild in the first place, the study allowed the researchers to map out their habitation locations more accurately, depicting where they came from with fair accuracy and how modern agriculture and development has impacted their living space.

“By decoding the clues hidden within the DNA of bumblebee queens and workers, and combining these with detailed landscape surveys, our research demonstrates that the survival of bumblebee families between years is positively linked with habitat quality at a landscape scale,” said Dr Claire Carvell, the study’s lead author.

One of the key things that was realized was how survival chances were higher when better quality food resources were just around the corner, which suggests that regions with more Spring flowers are better for the survival of bumblebees as a whole.

“The findings suggest that increasing flowers provided by spring-flowering trees, hedgerow plants and crops across the landscape - in combination with summer flower resources along field edges - can increase the probability of family survival by up to four times,” he continued.

You might also be interested in: Slow motion video of a bumblebee pollinating flowers by headbanging them

That said, while wild bumblebees may rely on disappearing wild flowers to provide food, nectar, and other resources, perhaps the general public can do something to help with their declining population problem. As indicated from previous scientific experiments, planting more flowers, whether you’re a homeowner or a famer, can help to give bumblebee populations something to hinge on.

Source: BBC

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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