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Bee Maps

January 6, 2016

A first-ever national bee map reveals where native bees are most in need of help.

Transcript

First national map of U.S. bee abundance PNAS Koh et al. 2015

First national map of U.S. bee abundance (Koh et al. PNAS 2015)

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Native bees in danger. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

European honeybees, raised in the United States for their honey and to help pollinate crops, have been dying off due to pesticides and disease. But Michigan State University entomologist Rufus Isaacs points out that the U.S. is also home to four thousand species of native bees.

RUFUS ISAACS (Michigan State University):

And those also contribute to pollination of wild plants in natural systems, but also can contribute significantly to the production of many of our fruits and vegetables and nuts.

HIRSHON:

In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, he and his colleagues share the first national bee map, showing where these bees are most threatened, and most needed by farmers. They found hotspots in California‚Äôs Central Valley, the Midwest Corn Belt, and the Mississippi River Valley. The report calls for more land left undisturbed to provide bee habitat, and the planting of more wildflowers to support bee populations. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.