Free Access
Volume 40, Number 3, May-June 2009
Bee conservation
Page(s) 313 - 331
Published online 07 July 2009
Apidologie 40 (2009) 313-331
DOI: 10.1051/apido/2009028

A survey and review of the status of wild bees in the West-Palaearctic region

Sébastien Patiny1, Pierre Rasmont2 and Denis Michez2

1  Entomologie fonctionnelle et évolutive, Faculté universitaire des Sciences Agronomiques de Gembloux, Passage des déportés 2, 5030 Gembloux, Belgium
2  Laboratoire de Zoologie, Pentagone, Université de Mons-Hainaut, place du Parc, 20, 7000 Mons, Belgium

Received 10 October 2008 – Revised 19 January 2009 – Accepted 12 February 2009 - Published online 7 July 2009

Abstract - Bees (a.k.a. Apoidea Anthophila) are among the main pollinators in most ecosystems. The yearly value of the ecological services provided worldwide by pollinators reaches more than € 150 billion. As in many other groups, the erosion of bee diversity is now a well-assessed reality. However, quantification of the phenomenon, including the assessment of its extent and severity has been lacking for a long time. In the West-Palaearctic, the decrease in wild bees has been highlighted in several studies over the last few decades. Specifically, the plight of a few populations of bees in Europe has been measured and assessed. In this paper, we review the state of the knowledge of bee diversity in the West-Palaearctic. We present the available resources usable for estimation of the extinction risk in West-Palaearctic bees. We also point out the work that is needed to outline a holistic picture of West-Palaearctic bee diversity. We conclude by suggesting that former initiatives should be integral in developing the framework of a subregion-wide monitoring program for bees.

Key words: diversity / taxonomy / West-Palaearctic / Europe / Apoidea

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2009