Corporate control of agriculture, new viruses and climate change have been singled out among a long list of big threats to pollinators in a new horizon-scanning study co-authored by a Kiwi scientist.
The importance of bees and other hard-working pollinators, relied upon for more than a third of the world's crop production and 85 per cent of wild flowering plants, has been highlighted by countless studies and was the take-away message of the 2007 animated film Bee Movie.
But until this week, international researchers had not taken a comprehensive, global look at the risks they'll face in future decades.
In response to a range of threats, including the expansion of corporate agriculture, fresh classes of insecticides and emerging viruses, authors of a study just published in the journal PeerJ have called for new global policies of "proactive prevention" rather than trying to mitigate risks after they've emerged.
"We are increasingly adopting practices that damage these species," said the study's lead author, Professor Mark Brown from Royal Holloway University of London.
"Then, we rather absurdly look to mitigate their loss, rather than prevent it in the first place."
Brown called this an expensive and "back-to-front solution" for a problem that had consequences for our well-being.
"Most research focuses on the battles already being fought, not on the war to come."