Leave the leaves (for the bees)

A new study links bumblebee extinction to a warming planet. But there was one passage in this National Geographic article about the study that really caught my attention:

Bumblebees only live one year at most, and queens often spend the winter in leaf litter or in the ground.

This is one more important reason why we should leave some leaf piles on the ground in the winter. They provide important habitat for bees and other insects.

Update: According to the BBC, Germany’s Ministry for the Environment has recently advised against the use of leaf blowers in landscaping, as they pose “a fatal threat to insects.”

With 40 percent of all insect species in decline and facing extinction within the century, it is more urgent than ever that we decide now, what is it that is truly important? A pristine lawn, or a livable future?

“There is reason to worry.”

Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, an ecologist at the University of Sydney in Australia, says, “There is reason to worry.” Because insects are a food source for many animals, entire ecosystems will start to collapse as their numbers decline further.