Hope for the Rare Western Bumblebee yet?

Hope for the Rare Western Bumblebee Yet?

There may be hope for the rare Western bumblebee yet. It had just about disappeared but several citizen scientists have been reporting on the possibility of the species recovery. Will Peterman, who is a citizen scientist, photographer and self-professed “bee-nerd”, states that he wishes he knew why the recovery seems to be happening.

Peterman himself was ecstatic when he spotted one of the bumblebees the last summer. He was even happier when he began receiving emails and phone calls over the very same bees that were been seen by other citizen scientists such as himself. This began to give hope to the group that the species of bee was possibly in the beginning of the rebounds stage.

There use to be a time when the Western bumblebee was seen all over the western regions of the United States. However they started to die out in the early 1990’s. It was believed by several scientists that the bees might be on the way to extinction and that would have spelled a horrible time for the world indeed.

Peterman is taking a small group of people with him, and they will be visiting the Pacific Northwest this summer in order to see if they are able to find bigger colonies of the Western bumblebees. They would also like to DNA samples and run analysis over the cells of the bees to see how they are doing.

He is hoping that he can conduct a more thorough survey in order to find out for sure if Bombus occidentalis, which is the Western bumblebees name in Latin, are truly on their way back or not. He also wants to see if they have maybe adapted naturally to the  disease that scientists believe was responsible for causing the population to nearly die out.

The DNA tests will be performed at no cost by the USDA’s Bee Biology and Sytematics Lab, which is located in Utah. It could show reasons why some bees have lived while others have died. Bumblebees have not gotten near as much attention as honeybees and the mysterious ailment affecting them known as colony collapse disorder which has been killing honeybees at an alarming rate.

However not all bumblebee species have been affected like Bombus occidentalis so researchers believed some sort of disease was hurting them instead of insecticides or climate change.

The Western United United States was scanned back in 2006 and it was discovered that the Western bumblebee was mostly gone. It had disappeared from about 30 percent of its range, especially to the west of the Sierra Mountains. However to the east of the mountains and in high elevation regions, such as near the Olympic Mountains, bumblebee populations had survived but were in lesser numbers.  So there may be hope for the rare Western bumblebee yet.  It had just about disappeared but several citizen scientists have been reporting on the possibility of the species recovery.

Will Peterman, who is a citizen scientist , photographer and self-professed “bee-nerd”, states that he wishes he knew why the recovery seems to be happening. Peterman himself was ecstatic when he spotted one of the bumblebees the last summer. He was even happier when he began receiving emails and phone calls over the very same bees that were been seen by other citizen scientists such as himself. This began to give hope to the group that the species of bee was possibly in the beginning of the rebounds stage.

By Kimberly Ruble

Sources:

San Francisco Gate

Yotta Fire News

CNN

 

 

Your Thoughts?