A quarter of bee species haven’t been seen in decades

About a quarter of bee native bee species haven’t been seen in several decades, according to a recent study published in One Earth. The analysis of bee sightings around the world since 1900 relied on the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, a database of records from museum specimens, private collections and naturalists’ observations. Researchers found that in the period between 2006 and 2015, these records contained about 25% fewer bee species than in the period between 1946 and 1995. The findings align with reports showing a decline of insect species around the world.

“When we talk about bees, we’re talking about 20,000 species of bees and not just the honey bee,” study co-author Eduardo Zattara told The Scientist magazine.

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Header Image: The giant Patagonian bumblebee (Bombus dahlbomii) was abundant in Chile and Argentina four decades ago but they are an uncommon sight now. Credit: Eduardo Zattara