UNH Researchers Find Drastic Decline in NH's Bumble Bees

UNH Researchers Find Drastic Decline in NH's Bumble Bees

Dec 20, 2017
Bumble bee, Bombus terricola. Credit: Molly Jacobson/UNH

In the first long-term study of New Hampshire’s bumble bee population, researchers with the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station at UNH have found three of the state’s most important bumble bee species have experienced drastic declines and range constriction over the last 150 years, with a fourth bee also in significant decline.   

Sandra Rehan, assistant professor of biological sciences, led the research team which included Erika Tucker, USDA postdoctoral researcher; Minna Mathiasson, a graduate student in conservation biology; and Molly Jacobson, a recent graduate of UNH’s undergraduate wildlife and conservation biology program.

“Wild bees, particularly bumble bees, are highly important pollinators for both agriculture and unmanaged ecosystems. They have experienced alarming declines in recent decades, and in order to effectively work towards their protection, information about their life histories, ecological roles, and distributional changes on a more local scale is needed,” according to Rehan and her colleagues.

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