Don’t Bee Late

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Bees are waking up earlier and earlier from their winter slumbers owing to temperatures becoming warmer, a study has found. Scientists at the University of Reading analysed data on more than 350,000 bee sightings in the UK to work out on which date 88 wild species ended their hibernations in the years from 1980 to 2019. They then compared these dates with temperature data and a clear pattern emerged: for every 1°C rise in temperature, the bees woke up six-and-a-half days earlier. On average, they were waking up four days earlier per decade. As a result of this, wild bees are becoming out of sync with the plants they rely on for food, say the researchers, risking their ability to procreate and survive. Shortages of available food could also sap their energy levels, making them less effective as pollinators – and threatening the various crops that depend on pollination.