Are bees disappearing due to ‘climate chaos’? Out of 250 bumblebee species around the world, only a few species are in danger

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Credit: Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News
Credit: Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News

It’s easy to find… articles on the internet which claim that bumblebees and wild bees will be extinct in 20 years or less because of rising temperatures.

A recent study from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia questions that narrative. [Ecologist Melissa Guzman] said the real story about bumblebees is more complex.

There are more than 50 bumblebee species in North America and about 250 types of bumblebees around the world.

Many of those species are not suffering. They’re doing fine.

“If you look at all the species, on average, there is no decline,” Guzman said. “Some are OK, some are increasing and some are decreasing.”

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The public should be informed about wild bees that are at risk in their area so they can take local action to preserve the species, said Sarah Johnson, a bee expert at SFU and one of the study’s authors.

That’s preferable to the “all bees will be extinct in two decades” message, which makes the problem seem insurmountable.

“If you just say every species (of bumblebee) is declining… (then) we’re already in this space where everything is falling apart, past the point of no return…. It makes people feel there is no point in doing anything.”

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