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Old 09-18-2009, 01:19 PM   #1
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bumblebee Life Without Bumblebees? It's Not Just Honeybees That Are Mysteriously Dying

Life Without Bumblebees? It's Not Just Honeybees That Are Mysteriously Dying
By Adam Federman, Earth Island Journal.
Posted September 15, 2009

Life Without Bumblebees? It's Not Just Honeybees That Are Mysteriously Dying | Environment | AlterNet
excerpts from above:
The decline of bumblebees has received far less attention, though in the public imagination their plight has often been conflated with that of the honeybee. Not only do bumblebees pollinate about 15 percent of our food crops (valued at $3 billion), they also occupy a critical role as native pollinators. Plant pollinator interactions can be so specific and thus the loss of even one species carries with it potentially severe ecological consequences. As E. O. Wilson writes, "If the last pollinator species adapted to a plant is erased … the plant will soon follow." There are close to 50 bumblebee species in the United States and Canada that have evolved with various plants and flowers over the course of millions of years; our knowledge of those species, however, is incredibly weak.
Bumblebees, of course, are not salmon, but some of the same principles apply. "Feedlot farming attempts to break immutable laws of nature by overcrowding animals, lowering their genetic diversity and putting them where they do not belong," wrote Alexandra Morton in an essay on salmon farming published in 2004. The titles of many such essays and books are becoming all too familiar: "Silent Spring of the Sea," Fruitless Fall, etc. In the case of bumblebees, there is a wealth of evidence pointing to the risks associated with the importation of nonnative species and of pathogen spillover. Yet, according to Otterstatter, Thorp, and others, the regulations in place are hardly adequate to ensure that risks are minimized. Discontinuing the shipment of bees beyond their native ranges and requiring all greenhouses to install insect screens would be a start, they say.
The tendency of man's nature to good is like the tendency of water to flow downwards.
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Old 09-19-2009, 04:21 PM   #2
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I think the single best source of information on declines among native pollinators generally and bumbles specifically is the Xerces Society. If you're interested in participating in a cool citizen science project, they are asking people to report sightings of four bumblebee species that are believed to be declining rapidly in the wild. (Look under "What you can do".) They are also asking for observations of bumble bee nests.
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Old 09-19-2009, 04:47 PM   #3
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Xerces is a high quality site. It's like an eraser chalk full of good information. Very nice suggestion.
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
- Dr. Seuss
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bumblebees, dying, honeybees, life, mysteriously

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