Climate change kills bumblebees as early spring forces shorten hibernation

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According to a recent study, the hibernation period is reduced by 35 days due to early spring, which leads to an increase in the number of dying bumblebees.

Climate change is causing an early spring across North America and bringing bumblebees out of hibernation before the flowers have bloomed, leaving many without food and putting their survival at risk.

These insects wake up 6-35 days earlier than before. Normally, the insects end their hibernation at the same time that the flowers are already in bloom, allowing them to find enough food to make up for what they lacked during the winter.

Researchers from the University of Ottawa have found that the sleep of 15 of the continent’s 21 bumblebee species is disrupted by climate change.

Climate change, changing patterns

(Photo: Photos: Nikki Kamminga/Pixanbay)

Olga Koppel, the study’s lead author, warns that the survival of these insects is in humanity’s best interests, as they pollinate crops that are a food source for millions of people.

Koppel said North America’s native bumblebee species, numbering more than 40, render this economic service invaluable.

The study notes that global diversity is decreasing due to climate change and that the importance of bee pollination services has already had a significant impact on the economy and biodiversity.

The group examined the migratory patterns of bumblebees in Canada and the United States.

They examined 21 species in total, and six were found in the United States and 11 species in Canada that show “strong phenological changes”.

According to Koppel, their study showed that the timing of bumblebee emergence can be significantly skewed in the direction of climate change. This has implications for studies of related species as well as for the urgent conservation of these important pollinator species.

The study provides a framework for assessing large-scale temporal responses of many insects and other animals to climate change.

Read also: Bee biodiversity and its critical role in a thriving ecosystem

Stress during development: asymmetrical wings

According to another study conducted last week on the effects of climate change on bees, these insects have asymmetrical wings.

The discovery was made after an examination of bumblebee specimens held in British museums.

High asymmetry (extremely dissimilar left and right wings) suggests that the bees were stressed during development, most likely caused by an outside factor that interfered with their normal growth, such as the weather.

According to a study of four different bumblebee species, stress levels increased over the century after hitting a nadir around 1925.

Further investigation revealed that in the second half of the century, each species consistently showed a higher stress indicator.

The research team found that the bees’ wings were much more uneven in the hottest and rainiest years after evaluating the climatic conditions in the year of collection.

Aoife Cantwell-Jones, also lead author of the Imperial College London study, said it is possible to more precisely track the factors putting pressure on populations over time and space using an indicator visible stress on the external anatomy of the bees and brought by the stress throughout its development a few days or weeks before.

A third of the wild bee population in Britain is in decline. Some species will disappear completely if current trends continue. They pollinate flowering plants, such as rapeseed, Mail Online reports.

Related Article: Bumblebee Decline Due To Climate Change Could Be Disaster For The Human Race

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