The world is becoming more urban. The percentage of humans living in urban areas is steadily increasing. About half the human population today lives in urban areas. That percentage is predicted to reach 67% by 2050. How does urbanization impact our insect populations?
A group of scientists measured pollination services in urban and agricultural areas of Germany*. They found increased pollinator services in urban areas and in particular, a higher density of bumblebees. Urban bumblebees had a higher rate of parasites, but that is due to the higher density of bumblebee population rather than environmental quality.
Urban areas may have a larger variety of flowers, nesting sites and other resources that promote bumblebee populations. As an urban dweller with flower gardens, I have observed substantial numbers of bees and other pollinators this year. Pollinator gardens can be an important refuge for many species.
*Panagiotis Theodorou, Rita Radzevičiūtė, Josef Settele, Oliver Schweiger, Tomás E. Murray, Robert J. Paxton. Pollination services enhanced with urbanization despite increasing pollinator parasitism. Proc. R. Soc. B 2016 283 20160561. Published 22 June 2016.