Bees are making headlines these days, and not in a positive way. Colony collapse disorder has cut through honeybee populations, with some beekeepers reportedly losing up to 90 percent of their stock in recent years. European bee populations are also declining, and so are some species of North American bumblebee. That data is often interpreted to mean that all of the world's 20,000 bee species are in danger, and that we may be in the midst of a "global pollinator crisis." But there's little data to back up those claims, scientists say.
"When you look at what's out there in the public press, the implication is that pollinators are all under threat, that there's some kind of mysterious decline across the board," says Sam Droege, a biologist at U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. "The problem is, there's really no data to show that either way."