Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Impact of biotic and abiotic stressors on managed and feral bees.

Abstract

Large-scale declines in bee abundance and species richness over the last decade have sounded an alarm, given the crucial pollination services that bees provide. Population dips have specifically been noted for both managed and feral bee species. The simultaneous increased cultivation of bee-dependent agricultural crops has given rise to additional concern. As a result, there has been a surge in scientific research investigating the potential stressors impacting bees. A group of environmental and anthropogenic stressors negatively impacting bees has been isolated. Habitat destruction has diminished the availability of bee floral resources and nest habitats, while massive monoculture plantings have limited bee access to a variety of pollens and nectars. The rapid spread and increased resistance buildup of various bee parasites, pathogens, and pests to current control methods are implicated in deteriorating bee health. Similarly, many pesticides that are widely applied on agricultural crops and within beehives are toxic to bees. The global distribution of honey bee colonies (including queens with attendant bees) and bumble bee colonies from crop to crop for pollination events has been linked with increased pathogen stress and increased competition with native bee species for limited resources. Climatic alterations have disrupted synchronous bee emergence with flower blooming and reduced the availability of diverse floral resources, leading to bee physiological adaptations. Interactions amongst multiple stressors have created colossal maladies hitting bees at one time, and in some cases delivering additive impacts. Initiatives including the development of wild flower plantings and assessment of pesticide toxicity to bees have been undertaken in efforts to ameliorate current bee declines. In this review, recent findings regarding the impact of these stressors on bees and strategies for mitigating them are discussed.