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Hot Cities Spell Bad News for Bees

As urban temperatures increase, common wild bee species decline, according to a new study from North Carolina State University. This study was funded by NIFA's Agriculture Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

“We looked at 15 of the most common bee species in southeastern cities and – through fieldwork and lab work – found that increasing temperatures in urban heat islands will have a negative effect on almost all of them,” says Steve Frank, an associate professor of entomology at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the work.

“What’s exciting is that we were able to use a relatively easy lab test on individual bees to predict how whole populations will fare at higher temperatures in urban areas,” says Elsa Youngsteadt, a research associate at NC State and co-lead author of the paper. “This is a tool we can use for additional bee species in the future, giving us insights into how urban warming affects ecosystems.

Read more about NCSU's wild bees.

Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.

Farm Bill Priority Areas
Animal health and production and animal products;
Bioenergy, natural resources, and environment
U.S. States and Territories
North Carolina
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