Bee study shows a drop in numbers

By Ashley Ferraro

A species of bumblebee that used to frequent Southern Ontario is facing imminent extinction.

A study out of York University researched the decline of the American Bumblebee. Data from 1907 to 2006 was compared it to data from 2007 to 2016. The comparison showed that the area occupied by the American Bumblebee has decreased by 70 percent, while their population has fallen by 89 percent.

The American Bumblebee is one of many pollinators that are on rapid decline.

Victoria MacPhail is a Doctoral Student at York University and Co-Author of the American Bumblebee study.

“We have so little natural habitat left. Like, ten per cent tree cover. Every time we lose more of each habitat, we lose more potential space for species to live and to nest in,” said MacPhail.

The study called out the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, saying that only four species of bees have been assessed for extinction risk, while over forty species of bees exist.

The study called for awareness and conservation efforts to lessen or reverse the trend of declining and endangered bees.

“Try to create habitat. Try to reduce pesticide use as much as possible. Understanding of course that there’s a fine balance between bees in your crop and avoiding pesticide use, but we define that balance and not use it excessively,” added MacPhail