• Question: John how does climate affect bees

    Asked by cake355gas to John on 16 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: John Paterson

      John Paterson answered on 16 Jun 2019:

      It affects them in several ways. One of the best researched is that warmer temperatures change what time of year insects come out at. Most insects sleep or lay eggs over the winter and then come out again when the weather gets warmer. Research has shown that some species of pollinator are now coming out 2 or 3 months earlier in the year than they did 50 or 60 years ago. This might not seem like a big deal but if they come out at the wrong time of year then the flowers they visit might now have grown yet. This means the pollinator doesn’t get food and the flowers won’t get pollinated, which is bad for both their populations.

      Another way climate change affects pollinators is through extreme weather rather than gradual warming. For example, both last year and this year in the UK we had very warm weather in February/March followed by very cold weather. This means that pollinators come out with the warm weather, because they think the season has changed, and are then exposed to the really cold weather, which kills them. This means that this year and last year we have had quite small pollinator populations in summer.