Climate change is putting stress on bumblebees and it shows in their wings

By Belgium

Researchers at Imperial College London, who studied bumblebees in museums and institutions across the United Kingdom, found that the insects developed asymmetries in their wings when exposed to weather conditions.


The study, which looked at bumblebees from four species protected since 1900, showed that the asymmetry of their wings — a sign of growth stress — increased in the 20th century.

The research team found that bumblebees exhibited frequent and clear asymmetries during years when climatic conditions were particularly warm and humid.


“Our goal is to better understand the responses (of bumblebees) to specific environmental factors, so that we can learn from the past and predict the future,” explained Andres Arce, co-author of the study.

“We hope to be able to predict where and when bumblebees are most at risk so that we can take effective measures,” he added.

“Warmer and wetter conditions are predicted to stress bumblebees, and with climate change making these conditions more frequent, bumblebees are likely to face tough times in the 21st century,” warned study co-author Richard Gill. study

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A second study looks at DNA

In a second study published Thursday, researchers at the Natural History Museum in London succeeded in sequencing the genome (genetic information) of more than 100 bumblebees, some of which have been preserved for more than 130 years. This means that the order of the different building blocks of DNA is determined.

In doing so, for the first time, methods were applied to insects normally reserved for mammoths and prehistoric humans.

They can now study how these genes have evolved over time and determine whether or not species have adapted to environmental changes.

Insects are the world’s top pollinators: 75% of the top 115 crops depend on animal pollination, including cocoa, coffee, almonds and cherries, according to the UN.

Ferdinand Woolridge

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