Bees are cute little packages that have a vital role in our ecosystem apart from providing us with delicious honey. Their role is so inevitable that it is said that if bees were gone, an environmental collapse would occur. And a new study suggests that it may not take long for that to happen. Yes, you heard it right! A new study published in the journal Cell press says that 25 percent of the bee species have disappeared from the record since the 1990s. All the Bees have a bad reputation for stinging people; they take care of the essential process of pollinating food crops to beautiful flowers. But it seems now that their pollination role may be at stake since the overall numbers are one the downside globally, which is very alarming. We should also note here bees are not the only ones who are suffering. A recent study shows that there is an overall decline in the number of insects and insect species.
Researchers analyzed the bee data recorded by the Global biodiversity information facility, which includes data from museum specimens to photos shared via mobile phones by citizen naturalists. They wanted to keep it simple, and hence they just wanted to analyze what species were recorded and wherein a given time frame. The team hypothesized that if there is a decline in bees, there would be a decline in the total number of species. The hypothesis became true, and there was a drop in the number of species recordings around the world except for Oceania. The results specifically also point out that the total number of bee species has declined since the 1990s, and it has drastically reduced by 25 percent between 2008-15 compared to the 1990s. The study notes that an 8 percent decline occurred in the 2000s, followed by a sharp decline of 22-26 percent occurred in the 2010s.
Researchers say that although the citizen science massive data is helping to record bees exponentially, the number of bee species records are going down. This is because humans are influencing the environment by destroying their habitats, chaining agricultural practices, taking away biodiversity, all leading to a climactic crisis that is bringing new diseases to bees and eventually leading to decline. One should note here that not all species are uniformly declining; some species are declining rapidly while others at a slower rate. The common family of bees belonging to halictid bees is slowly declining, whereas the rarer bees of the Melittidae family are rapidly declining. Although the findings are from a global database, the highest number of recordings come from North America and followed by Europe. Scientists also speculate that rather than the decline in the total number in North America since the 1990s, it can be a case of more people recording bees. To reveal the true picture, we need more data from the African and Asian contents so that we can a handful of total data.
The true picture
As said earlier, bees play the most important role in pollination, accounting for up to 85 percent of the total pollination. Therefore, if their numbers are in trouble, the world would collapse, and the earth will become a hard place to survive. And we must save these tiny creatures that are moving earth machinery without taking credit. Researchers say the bee monitoring program in the US should be a global model to be followed in other countries. More research and funding is also needed to add more details to the database. As humans, we should also not destroy the habitats of bees and implement sustainable agricultural and flowing practices to cherish the bee population around the globe.
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