(Center for Biological Diversity) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today it will consider Endangered Species Act protection for the Mojave poppy bee. Today’s positive finding comes in response to a petition filed in 2018 by the Center for Biological Diversity. Although it once thrived across much of the Mojave Desert, the quarter-inch-long, yellow-and-black bee is now only found in seven locations in Nevada’s Clark County. The bee is tightly linked to the survival of two rare desert poppy flowers. The bee has disappeared as those plants have declined, as well as facing ongoing threats from grazing, recreation and gypsum mining.
(Julius-Maximilians-Universität) Pesticides, habitat destruction, climate change all contribute to bee mortality. But there could be another important factor to consider as well: the bacteria that live in and with bees. Many of them are important for the health of bees, and if they suffer, so do the bees. Until now, research has been based on the assumption that the knowledge gained from honey bees can be transferred to solitary bees – which is true only to a limited extent. So researchers have started to investigate the landscape ecological factors that influence the microbial associations of solitary bees as well.