I hear all the time that bees are vanishing — but are they really? The apocalyptic tenor of the rhetoric just isn’t appropriate for talking about honeybees (as I argued here). Beekeepers now have to replace hives every year in North America and Europe; but despite that struggle, domestic honeybee populations are strong (as I showed here). But what about wild bees and other pollinators?

There’s a lot of evidence that the number wild pollinators is declining in the U.S. and Europe, said Scott Hoffman Black, executive director of the Xerces Society, a nonprofit that advocates for invertebrates. (There’s a lot less information about pollinator populations in the developing world.) The species that have vanished are rare ones — isolated and low in population — but there’s also a widespread reduction in numbers.

“A few years back we started seeing something different,” Black said. “Real declines in common species.”