Shifts in temperature and rainfall are pushing bumblebees to their ecological limits across both continents, according to the analysis published in Science. This is driving “rapid and widespread declines” across 66 bumblebee species, the authors warn.
The impact of climate change on bumblebees is greatest in warmer parts of the northern hemisphere, including Mexico and Spain, the research finds.
Bumblebees have also expanded their range in some cooler regions. However, the extent of their range expansion is far smaller than the extent of range lost, the authors say.
This has contributed to population declines that could have “unknown consequences for the provision of ecosystem services,” they add.
Bumblebees also face threats from habitat loss and exposure to pesticides – meaning rapid warming could prove to be “the final straw” for some species, another scientist tells Carbon Brief.