Bee Species Moving North

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In 2017 I wrote about a research project from Germany which found Flying Insects in Decline. Now in America researchers from the University of New Hampshire have found a decline in 14 wild bee species which are important food crop pollinators across the Northeast. Thirteen of the bees were native ground nesters and one was a cavity nester. The study was conducted by Minna E Mathiasson and Sandra M Rehan.

A bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) finds Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) a welcome treat.

The study involved reviewing local New Hampshire museum records for 119 wild bee species from the past 125 years, and comparing such characteristics as habitat preferences, range, elevation, latitude and social behavior. Their findings showed fourteen of the bee species were shifting their use of habitats northward and upward (declining populations). This means more of these bees were being found in mountainous areas instead of the southern sea level areas typically populated.

“We found that wild bee species that once greatly populated more southern areas near sea level are now in decline,” said Rehan. “While up north in more mountainous areas, like the White Mountains, those same species persist which is an indicator of how climate change is affecting certain populations, especially in the Seacoast area.” (USDA – Robbin Ray)

However, the study also showed eight species to be increasing, which seems to confirm the theory that bee species are moving northward.

So from this research, it looks like along with the boreal trees we love moving farther north, our native bees will as well. And, while the hardwoods will then become more prominent so will the now more southern area native bees. See Climate Change Changes.

To compare this study to an earlier study which involved Minna E Mathiasson, see Decline of bumble bees in northeastern North America, with special focus on Bombus terricola.


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