The endangered yellow-faced bumble bee consistently chose the large-leaved lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus), seen above, even when others were available. vil.sandi / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0 In an effort to aid North American bumblebee conservation , a group of California researchers has identified which flowers certain bee species prefer. There are nearly 20,000 known bee species in the world, 4,000 of which are native to the U.S., according to the U.S. Geological Society . Bees pollinate roughly three-quarters of all fruits, nuts and vegetables grown across the country and one of every four bites of food can be credited to bee pollination. But bees are in major decline as nearly 40 percent of honey bees have declined in the last year, according to ABC News . Populations have dropped for a number of reasons, including parasites, pesticides and a lack of flowers on the landscape — all factors that highlight a need for understanding habitat needed to sustain and recover populations. Working with the Entomological Society of America , scientists set out to determine which flowers bumble bees prefer in an effort to aid land managers seeking to restore critical habitat. “It’s important to consider the availability of plants […]

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