An alarming new threat shows that bees are under attack -- and we could lose some species forever.
A frightening new report suggests that multiple species of bee is now facing extinction and has been added to the federal list of endangered and threatened species. Seven types of bees in Hawaii are now endangered, meaning they are one big step closer to extinction thanks to a variety of factors — many of them manmade.
Seven varieties of yellow-faced or masked bees have now been delcared endangered, with experts blaming habitat loss, wildfires, and invasive plants and insect species. The bees have yellow and white facial markings and were once populous throughout the Hawaiian islands, but their populations have plunged lately.
This is a big problem, as bees tend to be more valuable to humans than most other insects. They are pollinators that are critical for fruit and vegetable product, and losing them could result in billions of dollars lost in revenue, to say nothing of the drastic environmental impact.
The move to put them on the endangered list comes just days after the rusty patched bumble bee was also declared endangered in the upper Midwest and Northeastern United States.
“We made revisions to the demographic status or distribution of the yellow-faced bees Hylaeus anthracinus, H. facilis, and H. longiceps,” reads the Federal Register statement announcing the decision. “We added tsunami as a threat to the yellow-faced bees that occur in coastal areas (Hylaeus anthracinus, H. assimulans, H. facilis, H. hilaris, and H. longiceps), and to Solanum nelsonii, also in coastal areas. We changed “Australian colletid” to “alien Hylaeus” bees, and included competition with sweat bees (Lasioglossum spp.) as a threat to the yellow-faced bees. We noted that transmission of diseases carried by nonnative insects through shared food sources could be a threat to the yellow-faced bees, but we have no specific evidence of this type of disease transmission. We added drought as a potential threat to all seven yellow-faced bees.”