CHICAGO – Since 2000, the American bumblebee population has crashed and burned by 89 percent. These handsome, big, black and yellow bees are abandoning Earth en masse. Scandalous.
Once upon a time, their range encompassed southern Canada, much of continental United States and northern Mexico. Today, American bumblebees have died out in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon and Wyoming.
In New York State their population has plummeted by 99 percent. In nineteen other states across the Southwest and Midwest populations of American bumblebees have plunged by more than 50 percent.
These distinctive American beauties prefer grassland habitat, especially the native prairie ecosystems, which are amongst America’s least protected. The U.S. Great Plains Grasslands are being destroyed at an alarming rate, almost nine million acres ruined annually.
The indefatigable American bumblebees visit two to three times more flowers than the non-native honeybees during a 15-hour workday, seven days a week. They start before dawn and often finish at dusk.
Bumblebees perform an astonishing fertilisation feat called buzz pollination, or, sonification. Buzz pollination entails a bee grabbing hold of the flower and curling up her abdomen, the reward segments of the bee that contain its digestive and reproductive organs, to form a c-shape.
Closing her wings over her thorax, or, mid-section, the bee shivers her strong flight muscles to create a sonic vibration. This robust reverberation shakes the flower and, importantly, the male anthers, where the pollen is stored. A copious amount of pollen is dislodged from the anthers and coats the bee by means of electrostatic attraction.
The bumblebee then grooms and moves on to continue foraging, invariably pollen reaches the female stigma of another flower. Pollination accomplished!
These bees’ magnificent sonification technique is responsible for the pollination of, to name only a few, sunflowers, lentils, peas, tomatoes, chiles, red clover and alfalfa.
With more than eight percent of the 369,000 flowering plant species in the world relying on the unique buzz pollination technique to reproduce, the importance of bumblebees, blue-banded bees and other solitary bees is clear.
Habitat loss, global heating, introduced diseases and competition from honeybees have significantly harmed the magnificent American bumblebees. Nerve poisons from neonicotinoids (neonics) and the next generation insecticides, the coup de grâce, have all but wiped these bumblebees off the map. And in fact, neonics are killing off the vast majority of ALL endangered species in the U.S.
Allow me to remind you that the rate of insect extinction is eight times faster than mammals, birds and other reptiles. Insects are an indispensable food source for all land ecosystems and life therein. In addition, insects play a pivotal role in the decomposition process.
Today, American bumblebees have died out in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon and Wyoming
The loss of the American bumblebee is perhaps the last wake-up call for the horrible decline of 46 species of bumblebees and about 3600 native bee species across the nation.
We need these native bees along with hoverflies, moths, butterflies, beetles and other wild pollinators because they are the key to feeding the world. Without them, there is no us!
A billion kilos annually of nerve poisons, including neonics, are accelerating the man-driven Sixth Mass Extinction. Mother Earth is already missing 5000 bee species. It’s way overdue to ban these hideous planetary poisons and replace them with natural and safe ‘smart’ biocides.
Renowned mycologist Paul Stamets and a research team have created Sporulating Mushroom & Repelling Technology [SMART] based on certain entomopathogenic fungi conferring incredible pest resistance to plants. If adopted, farmers could disperse a solution of pre-sporulating fungi onto the soil among the crops making them unattractive to pests. The solution does not kill insects but allows them to coexist in the fields.
We, the Mother Earth lovers, DEMAND that the lawmakers protect the pollinators and our food supply. Otherwise, we will vote them out of their public offices, pronto!
Agitate. Disrupt. Defend.
Reese Halter is a bees/trees/seas defender.
His latest book is GenZ Emergency.
Email: HalterBooks@gmail.com for your autographed copy.
In Australia, order from the Bob Brown Foundation by emailing: Contact@BobBrown.org.au