I’ve written about the dangerous decline of bees in the past. Last year 7 species of bees: Hylaeus anthracinus, Hylaeus longiceps, Hylaeus assimulans, Hylaeus facilis, Hylaeus hilaris, Hylaeus kuakea, and Hylaeus mana, were placed on the endangered species list. All of these bees were part of the Hawaiian yellow-faced family and were critical to pollination in the Hawaiian Islands. Now, as a February a new species of bee will join it’s brethren on the endangered species list.
The Rusty Patched bumblebee is both the first species of bee from the continental US and (perhaps more troubling) the first bumblebee to make the list. The Rusty Patched Bumblebee used to make its home in 21 states and provinces in the 90’s but reports from the 2000’s estimate this has been severely reduced to only about 13 states. That accounts for an 88% decline in population and an 87% decline in natural habitat. To put matters into a more human centric focus, it’s estimated that 75% of our food crops rely on insect pollinators to survive. The Rusty Patched bumblebee is one of the first species of bees to become active in spring and is responsible for much of the early growth we see as winter recedes.
Being on the endangered species list will grant them several important federal protections and access to restoration project funding. It’s believed that insecticides, pollution, pathogens, and human encroachment are main factors in their steady decline.
For more bee extinction check out the video below.