Open Access
Volume 40, Number 3, May-June 2009
Bee conservation
Page(s) 410 - 416
Published online 01 May 2009
Apidologie 40 (2009) 410-416
DOI: 10.1051/apido/2009019

The conservation of bees: a global perspective

Mark J.F. Brown1 and Robert J. Paxton2

1  School of Biological Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, TW20 0EX, UK
2  School of Biological Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL, UK

Received 4 March 2009 – Accepted 5 March 2009 - Published online 1 May 2009

Abstract - Bees are major pollinators of Angiosperms and therefore their apparent decline is of importance for humans and biodiversity. We synthesise results of 12 recent reviews to provide a global picture of the threats they face. Habitat loss is the major threat to bee diversity, whilst invasive species, emerging diseases, pesticide use, and climate change also have the potential to impact bee populations. We suggest that future conservation strategies need to prioritise (i) minimising habitat loss, (ii) making agricultural habitats bee-friendly, (iii) training scientists and the public in bee taxonomy and identification, (iv) basic autecological and population genetic studies to underpin conservation strategies, (v) assessing the value of DNA barcoding for bee conservation, (vi) determining the impact of invasive plants, animals, parasites and pathogens, and (vii) integrating this information to understand the potential impact of climate change on current bee diversity.

Key words: Apoidea / biodiversity / pollination / conservation / ecosystem service

© INRA, DIB-AGIB, EDP Sciences 2009