Researchers at the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) in Argentina have found that, since the 1990s, up to 25% of reported bee species are no longer being reported in global records, despite a large increase in the number of records available. While this does not mean that these species are all extinct, it might indicate that these species have become rare enough that no one is observing them in nature. The findings appear [in January 22, 2021 issue of] the journal One Earth.
“With citizen science and the ability to share data, records are going up exponentially, but the number of species reported in these records is going down,” says first author Eduardo Zattara…“It’s not a bee cataclysm yet, but what we can say is that wild bees are not exactly thriving.”
While there are many studies about declining bee populations, these are usually focused on a specific area or a specific type of bee. These researchers were interested in identifying more general, global trends in bee diversity…
“It’s not really about how certain the numbers are here. It’s more about the trend,” says Zattara. “It’s about confirming what’s been shown to happen locally is going on globally. And also, about the fact that much better certainty will be achieved as more data are shared with public databases…”
“Something is happening to the bees, and something needs to be done. We cannot wait until we have absolute certainty because we rarely get there in natural sciences,” says Zattara. “The next step is prodding policymakers into action while we still have time. The bees cannot wait.”
I second that emotion!