1 in 10 bees face extinction, new warning announced

Posted Mar 19, 2015 by Tim Sandle
Ten percent of Europe's wild bees face extinction, a new assessment called "European Red List" indicates. Furthermore, several species could be lost altogether.
A giant bee presides over an area dedicated to real bees. The Eden Project collects and sells some t...
A giant bee presides over an area dedicated to real bees. The Eden Project collects and sells some tasty honey.
The European Red List has been prepared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).The new survey has discovered that almost ten percent of 2,000 different species of bee that are found throughout Europe are threatened with extinction. On top of this, a further five percent of bee species are likely to be at a similar risk over the next decade.
The causes of this decline are multiple. Reasons include loss of habitat from intensive farming, pesticide use, urban development and climate change. Each of these environmental pressures carries equal weight.
Commenting on the startling findings, Jean-Christophe Vié of the IUCN's Global Species Program told the BBC that the assessment was the most detailed one into bees to date. However, he also added that the figures could be an underestimate due to a lack of resources.
In terms of the implications of the loss of bees, Vié remarked: "Bees play an essential role in the pollination of our crops. We must urgently invest in further research in order to provide the best possible recommendations on how to reverse their decline." Bees are invaluable to the economics of agriculture.
In terms of seeking to arrest the decline in bee numbers and species, the assessment makes the following recommendations:
Better monitoring and assessment of common and rare species,
More protection for habitats supporting bees,
Regulation of trade in managed bees, which may spread diseases,
Long-term incentives to farmers to provide habitats for bees.
Vié also notes that increasing populations of bees provides benefits to wildlife, the countryside and food producers.
In related news, covered by Digital Journal, wild bumblebees are infected with many of the diseases found in honeybees looked after by bee keepers, according to a U.K. survey.