Bees Face ‘Perfect Storm’ — Parasites, Air Pollution and Other Threats

“Bees are facing a pandemic of their own.

A collection of threats — habitat loss, pathogens, pesticides, pollution and poor nutrition — have led to widespread decline in bee health and pollinator populations.

The threats add up: The number of commercial honeybee colonies declined by more than quarter million between April and June 2020, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Native bees are at risk, too, with 1 in 4 native species in North America at risk of extinction.

“Things are not going so well for bees,” says Arthur Grupe, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Colorado. “There’s been a lot of research looking into the causes, and usually, humans try and look for the magic bullet — what is the one thing causing this problem that we can stop? And the research has shown that it’s actually a collection of things.”

A single-cell fungal pathogen called Nosema is one of the latest threats.”

Jodi Helmer reports for the Revelator October 5, 2020.