Potential impact of climate change on honeybees (Apis spp.) and their pollination services

P V RAMI REDDY, ABRAHAM VERGHESE, V VARUN RAJAN

Abstract


Honeybees are the major pollinators of about 73 per cent of the worlds cultivated crops. Being ectothermic, the temperature of their surroundings determines the activity of bees and hence climate change, characterized by elevated temperatures, could drastically impact their biology, behavior and distribution. Indirectly, climate change affects bees through their floral resources and natural enemies. Differential response of insects and plants to changed temperature could create temporal (phenological) and spatial (distributional) mismatches with severe demographic consequences for the species involved. Asynchrony may affect plant by reduced insect visitation and pollen deposition, while bees experience reduced food availability. Systematic studies to quantify the effects, adverse or otherwise, of climate change are very few. Being involved in a project to understand the impact of climate change on plant-pollinator interactions, we made an effort to compile and review the available literature in this critical but relatively untapped area of pollinator ecology.


Keywords


Apis spp., bees, climate change, pollination, temperature

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