First US wild bee map reveals 139 'trouble zone' counties
Date: February 19, 2017
Source: University of Vermont
The first-ever study to map U.S. wild bees suggests they are disappearing in the country's most important farmlands -- from California's Central Valley to the Midwest's corn belt and the Mississippi River valley.
If wild bee declines continue, it could hurt U.S. crop production and farmers' costs, said Taylor Ricketts, a conservation ecologist at the University of Vermont, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting panel, Plan Bee: Pollinators, Food Production and U.S. Policy on Feb. 19.
"This study provides the first national picture of wild bees and their impacts on pollination," said Ricketts, Director of UVM's Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, noting that each year $3 billion of the U.S. economy depends on pollination from native pollinators like wild bees.
At AAAS, Ricketts briefed scholars, policy makers, and journalists on how the national bee map, first published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in late 2015, can help to protect wild bees and pinpoint habitat restoration efforts.
At the event, Ricketts also introduced a new mobile app that he is co-developing to help farmers upgrade their farms to better support wild bees.