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Bees struggle with climate change –

Bees struggle with climate change –


Temperatures of up to 15 degrees are becoming more common in February. For some wild bee species, the effects are devastating. Whole species can no longer be found here, as a current research project in Linz shows.

Esther Ockermüller has been researching the wild bee population in the Linz area for three years. The research project is now nearing completion and the results are frightening because some species have disappeared in the past few decades: “Individual species cannot adapt to higher temperatures and have migrated or become extinct – we don't know for sure.”

Many wild bee species are threatened with extinction

There are 700 species of wild bees in Austria. How many are actually threatened with extinction is currently under investigation. The effects are not yet expected. Insects are also an important source of food for birds, bats and frogs, and these animals are of course severely affected as well, Okermüller said in an interview with ORF Upper Austria.

APA/Heinz Weissbauer

Pants bee

The Biology Center in Linz houses the most important collection of wild bees in Europe. So a team of European researchers is visiting here. “We see that insects are decreasing year after year, not just bees,” says entomologist Romain Le Devillecq from France. Italian Paolo Rosa also confirms that many species are disappearing while others are seen less and less. According to Simone Flaminio from Bologna, all species that need cooler climates suffer. She cites bumblebees as an example.

Consequences for agriculture

The consequences can be felt in agriculture, because plants need insects for pollination. Experts note that important food sources for bees, such as willows, begin to bloom earlier and earlier. Flowering now begins two weeks earlier than it did just a few years ago. Many wild bees specialize in willows and fly only when the willows are in bloom. Meanwhile, the bees may not yet have hatched at bloom time. By the time the bees fly, the willows have already withered and the bees are no longer able to find food, Okkermüller says.

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