Bumblebee Species Believed to be Extinct


As go the pollinators, so goes the world.

Entymologist Robbin Thorp has reported the news that the Franklin's bumblebee -- once plentiful in the northwest corner of the United States -- may now be extinct, and that two other species may soon follow. Thorp, who has been studying the Franklin's bumblebee for years, has not yet observed a single specimen this year, after finding just a single, solitary worker bee in 2006.

The loss of any bumblebee species could be devastating on the ecosystem, the economy, and on the food supply. The Associated Press reports:

"Bumblebees are responsible for pollinating an estimated 15 percent of all the crops grown in the U.S., worth $3 billion, particularly those raised in greenhouses. Those include tomatoes, peppers and strawberries."

Bumblebees have been disappearing for years. To compensate for the loss of wild bumblebees, many farmers have had to resort to using commercial bumblebee hives to pollinate their crops.

Theories exist, but no one really knows why the bumblebees are dying off. As a result, no one knows how to save them. Kind of puts us in a bad situation, doesn't it?

But we're not helpless. Bumblebee.org offers a few tips on how you can help bumblebees to thrive in your backyard. Hey, every little bit helps.

See more articles from Extinction Blog

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» Franklin's Bumblebee, R.I.P. from awetzler
This week brought the sad news of another possible extinction--this time of Franklin's bumblebee, once endemic to southern Oregon and northern California.  (Hat tip: John Platt.)  Recent surveys have failed to site any Franklin's bumbleb... [Read More]


Comments

Thank you for sharing this information. I just heard about this issue on npr from Flagstaff, AZ. It is a bigger issue than one may think. One person can make a difference. I'll try to share this article so that i am part of that change. Cheers :)

Hey,
etymologists are different from entomologists...

Mel, thanks for pointing out that typo. I've fixed it above.

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