Over the last couple of years the importance of bees, wasps and pollinating insects has been discussed more and more in the news and popular science outlets, as well as in scientific research. These insects pollinate crops and support the economy, and sadly have been declining drastically over recent years. A definitive explanation for this decline in bee numbers has been difficult to identify, with numerous factors such as diseases and parasites, industrial agricultural practices (such as the widespread use of insecticides), climate change, invasive species and a lack of nesting sites have been blamed.

New research, published in Proceedings B this week has used a recently digitized land use map from the 1940s and recent land use data collected over the last couple of years to identify areas of land use change and correlate this with patterns of bee and wasp abundance. I spoke with the lead author of this study, Dr Deepa Senapathi to find out more.

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