Climate change poses growing threat to bee population

1st May 2018

P7 bee istock

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Wildlife & Habitats


Marie Godward

Increasingly frequent and intense droughts will add to a long list of climate-change-induced perils threatening the survival of bees across the world, new research has found.

Field experiments led by the University of Exeter revealed that droughts could roughly halve the amount of nectar provided by flowering plants, leaving less food for bees and other pollinators.

Bees are already under pressure from a variety of threats, including habitat loss, spread of diseases, alien species and the use of particular pesticides, with the research suggesting they face an even bleaker future than previously thought.

“The level of drought we looked at was calculated to be a rare event, but with climate change, such droughts are expected to become much more common,” said Dr Ellen Fry from the University of Manchester, which helped with the research.

The study took place in Wiltshire on chalk grassland. However, the scientists warned that the findings are likely to be broadly applicable to other regions and habitats around the world.

Unlike previous studies on the impact of drought on flowers carried out in laboratories, the latest research involved experiments with rain shelters to examine the effects on real communities of plant species.

The results are likely to have significant knock-on effects, with the researchers highlighting how bees and other insects also provide food for many birds and mammals.

Image credit: iStock

Transform articles

Local authorities could have saved Green Homes Grant

The Green Homes Grant is set to deliver only a fraction of the jobs and improvements intended, leading to calls for more involvement from local authorities in future schemes.

23rd September 2021

Read more

COVID-19 recovery packages have largely focused on protecting, rather than transforming, existing industries, and have been a “lost opportunity” for speeding up the global energy transition.

23rd September 2021

Read more

None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.

30th July 2021

Read more

The UK’s pipeline for renewable energy projects could mitigate 90% of job losses caused by COVID-19 and help deliver the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. That is according to a recent report from consultancy EY-Parthenon, which outlines how the UK’s £108bn “visible pipeline” of investible renewable energy projects could create 625,000 jobs.

30th July 2021

Read more

Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.

30th July 2021

Read more

The oil and gas industry is set to burn through its allocated carbon budget 13 years early unless decisive action is taken immediately, new analysis has found.

22nd July 2021

Read more

The UK will no longer use unabated coal to generate electricity from October 2024, one year earlier than originally planned, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has announced.

2nd July 2021

Read more

The UK government is not on track to deliver on its promise to improve the environment within a generation and is failing to stem the tide of biodiversity loss, a damning new report from MPs has revealed.

1st July 2021

Read more

Renewable energy will account for nearly 40% of the world's power mix by the end of this decade, overtaking coal within the next few years, according to research by GlobalData.

24th June 2021

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert