An alarming report means that bee populations may be in huge trouble around the world.
A shocking report recently suggests that seven types of bees in Hawaii are now at risk of extinction and have bene placed on the endangered list, as we reported recently, and the news comes just days after the rusty patched bumble bee of the upper Midwest and Northeastern United States was also placed on the endangered list. Why are so many bees now suddenly becoming endangered? Unfortunately, it’s a symptom of a problem that is likely to get worse before it’s likely to get better.
Authorities placed seven varieties of yellow-faced or masked bees in Hawaii, with the reasons being habitat loss, wildfires and invasive plants and insect species. These bees, which have yellow and white facial markings, once thrived in Hawaii but have seen populations plunge in recent years.
Bees are incredibly valuable to mankind, so this is bad news. We rely on them to pollinate fruits and vegetables around the globe, and losing these vital insects would not only mean huge economic impacts, but also place a tremendous threat on the environment.
“With increasing worldwide awareness of the decline of pollinators, there is now great interest in promoting the diversity and abundance of wild bees as alternatives to imported honeybees,” reads a statement from the University of Hawaii on how these bees thrived on the islands. “But most of the information is produced in mainland North America and is geared towards the bees found there. What about Hawai‘i’s native bees?
“As the most isolated island archipelago in the world, Hawai‘i had a truly unique biological history until the arrival of humans,” it continues. “No other region had both so little interchange with other islands or continents, and had so many local endemic species evolve. Only one type of bee managed to successfully reach the islands on its own – a yellow-faced bee, Hylaeus. From that one original colonist they evolved into 63 known endemic species, about 10% of the world’s yellow-faced bees and more than are found in this genus in all of North America. With no other bees to compete with, they spread to all habitats in the islands, from the wettest to the driest forests, and from the shore within reach of the sea, to the alpine desert near 10,000 feet on Mauna Kea and Haleakalā where they visit silversword flowers.”