December 31, 2015

The dangerous loss of wild bees

University of Vermont - The first national study to map U.S. wild bees suggests they're disappearing in many of the country's most important farmlands - including California's Central Valley, the Midwest's corn belt and the Mississippi River valley.

If losses of these crucial pollinators continue, the new nationwide assessment indicates that farmers will face increasing costs - and that the problem may even destabilize the nation's crop production.

The research team, led by Insu Koh at the University of Vermont, estimates that wild bee abundance between 2008 and 2013 declined in 23 percent of the contiguous U.S. The study also shows that 39 percent of U.S. croplands that depend on pollinators - from apple orchards to pumpkin patches - face a threatening mismatch between rising demand for pollination and a falling supply of wild bees.

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