We playfully phrase the question as to where bumblebees have gone as a nod to Shakespeare, but the answer is anything poetic. Bumblebees are dying—and it is a disturbing development for the entire world.
Most studies point to global warming as the reason. In one study, the habitat ranges for 67 bumblebee populations in Europe and North America were studied from a historical perspective. Between 1901 and 1974, the habitat ranges for bumblebees were fairly steady.
From 1974 to 2010, however, the bumblebees’ range shrank on average about 5 miles or so every year on the southern edge of its habitat, which researchers attribute to global warming. In total, the bumblebees’ range has shrunk 186 miles.
What concerns researchers, though, is that they are not moving up north to take advantage of less frigid habitats. There are many reasons for this, but some have pointed out that they might not be able to reproduce fast enough for new colonies to take root. There also needs to be just the right amount of certain flowers and shelter for them, too.
When one element in an ecosystem gets thrown out of whack, the entire ecosystem is affected.
How we can help
There are things we can to help bumblebees. We can plant native wildflowers rather than the kinds with huge blooms, which present challenge for bumbles to pollinate. We also need to stop using pesticides—they have a profound impact on their habitat and all of us in general.
Sure, chemicals work and your yard will be green. However, you are trading in a dark green color for the health of the planet.
Frankly, we as landscapers and gardeners will not save the bumble population, but we can make sure we do not make things worse.
Have questions? Call Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501-9919. We can help you create a more bumblebee friendly environment.