Insect Pollinators in Trouble
Insect pollinators around the world have experienced drastic declines in their populations due to a number of suspected causes. One of the most notorious declines has been in honey bee populations, better known as the “Colony Collapse Disorder.” While this problem is still being investigated, researchers are finding evidence that disease, nutrition, stress, and pesticides are responsible for these massive losses in honey bees. Bumble bees are also in serious trouble as populations are experiencing dramatic declines, leading to some species existing on the edge of extinction. Diseases are largely responsible for these losses.
Declines in other native pollinator populations are suspected to be strongly linked to habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation, along with climate change, pesticide use, and invasive species. The reality is that very little is understood regarding these declines. The importance of pollinators to native and agricultural systems has made this a national research priority.
To understand how native pollinator populations in Colorado are reacting to various causes we need to conduct more science and monitoring across the state. Monitoring projects such as the “Bees' Needs Program” are vital in this effort as we try to conserve our native bee and wasp species.
Source: Moissett, Beatriz and Buchmann, Stephen. Bee Basics: An Introduction to Our Native Bees. A USDA Forest Service and Pollinator Partnership Publication, 2010.