Buzz Kill: Hundreds of European Bee Species Threatened With Extinction

By John R. Platt,

Are we about to see a pollinator apocalypse in Europe?

That’s the buzz from the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which has just released a report warning that at least 9.2 percent of Europe’s 1,965 wild bee species are threatened with extinction. Another 5.2 percent, the report found, are likely to be threatened in the future. But researchers warn that more than 60 percent of European bees could be in trouble.

The major factors putting these bees at risk include habitat loss, insecticides, fertilizer (which suppresses flowering plants in favor of grasses), and climate change.

Most of these problems stem from the rise of industrial agriculture in Europe. Ironically, bees are essential in agriculture and provide approximately $24 billion in pollination services in Europe every year and $167 billion worldwide.