New pieces of the bee puzzlePosted on 04-07-2017 by Koos Biesmeijer
Coverphoto: hairy-footed flower bee (Anthophora plumipes)
Bee decline has been in the news for more than a decade. Understanding whether and why managed honeybees or the more than 350 species of Dutch wild bees are declining remains a complex scientific challenge. Two papers in Science provide some new pieces of the puzzle. Their conclusions and the context of the challenge are summarized nicely in a perspecitive by Jeremy Kerr, also in Science. The researches took place in Hungary, Great-Brittain, Germany and Canada.
In the Netherlands, bee expert Koos Biesmeijer has been studying status and trends in bees and pollination with his team at Naturalis and the Center for Environmental Sciences (CML), with a.o. Maarten van 't Zelfde. The focus has been on answering questions like: Are bees declining? If so, which factors explain the shifts? What is the impact of agro-chemicals on bee decline? What impact will climate change have? And: are bees still providing the pollination services we need to produce fruits and vegetables?
Koos' reactions on the new studies in the Dutch media:
Photo: Red mason bee (Osmia bicornis); Koos Biesmeijer