Plight of the American bumblebee: Disappearing?
It is not just honey bees that are in trouble. The fuzzy American bumblebee seems to be disappearing in the Midwest.
Two new studies in Thursday's journal Science conclude that wild bees, like the American bumblebee, are increasingly important in pollinating plants. But, at least in the Midwest, the American bumblebee seems to be dwindling in an alarming manner.
A naturalist in the 1890s meticulously collected and categorized insects in Carlinville in southern Illinois. More than a century later, Laura Burkle of Montana State University went back to see what changed. She could only find half the species that had been there. And she found only one American bumblebee. Scientists suspect a combination of disease and parasites for the dwindling of both wild and domesticated bees.