'Climate chaos' impacting Canada's bee population: Study

bee

New research has measured the effect that climate change is having on bee populations.

The newly published study from the University of Ottawa concludes that bumble bees are only half as likely to be found in areas where they were once common.

Bee populations have taken a dive in recent years, afflicted by everything from parasites to habitat loss to pesticides.

But biologist Jeremy Kerr says climate change is another threat to the insects, which farmers depend on to pollinate their crops.

Using almost a century's worth of records and data from more than half a million locations, he and his colleagues have teased out the effect of extreme weather events caused by what Kerr calls climate chaos.

He concludes that hot spells and torrential rains make it slightly less than 50-50 that a meadow or vacant lot that held bees a few decades ago still does.

He says the method he's helped develop should be useful to understand the declining numbers of many other species.