1932

Abstract

Bumble bees () are unusually important pollinators, with approximately 260 wild species native to all biogeographic regions except sub-Saharan Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. As they are vitally important in natural ecosystems and to agricultural food production globally, the increase in reports of declining distribution and abundance over the past decade has led to an explosion of interest in bumble bee population decline. We summarize data on the threat status of wild bumble bee species across biogeographic regions, underscoring regions lacking assessment data. Focusing on data-rich studies, we also synthesize recent research on potential causes of population declines. There is evidence that habitat loss, changing climate, pathogen transmission, invasion of nonnative species, and pesticides, operating individually and in combination, negatively impact bumble bee health, and that effects may depend on species and locality. We distinguish between correlational and causal results, underscoring the importance of expanding experimental research beyond the study of two commercially available species to identify causal factors affecting the diversity of wild species.

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2020-01-07
2024-04-13
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