Honeybees -- those industrious imports who pollinate so prolifically that they're responsible for one bite out of every three in our food supply -- aren't the only ones in trouble.
National researchers have been worriedly logging studies about declines in other pollinating species as well, from bats to birds.
Yesterday, the National Academy of Sciences released a report confirming that some native bee populations -- the ones agriculture has depended on for centuries, until the advent of the honey bee -- are in decline. And one of the major culprits is no surprise: Habitat loss.
The scientists, led by Sydney A. Cameron of the University of Illinois at Urbana, found that the relative abundances of four species have declined by up to 96 percent over the last few decades. In addition, their surveyed geographic ranges have contracted by alarmingly -- as much as 87 percent, and even at the lowest level, 23 percent.