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Imagine a world without apples, watermelons, and sunflowers… It doesn’t sound very good, does it? Unfortunately, it could actually happen. Bees help these (and many other) plants grow, but they have been dying. One reason for this is that bees are suffering from more diseases. But where do these bee diseases come from? Does it have to do with our changing landscapes?

To find out, we collected 890 bumble bees and screened them for three pathogens. We also looked at the types and qualities of the landscapes where we found these bees. Then we created a mathematical model to help us work out how different landscapes affect bees. We found out that landscapes with lots of food (flowers) for bees and more nesting sites led to healthier bees. Our results highlight the need to protect natural landscapes to conserve wild bees.

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About this article

Summary of research
Scientists wanted to know if various landscape conditions make bumble bees more vulnerable to diseases.
Reading level
Scientific field
Key words
NGSS standards
AP Environmental science topics
IB Biology topics
Scientific methods
Type of figure
Location of research
Scientist Affiliation
Publication date
April 2021

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