This week in scary, on Friday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that seven yellow-faced bee species (Hawaii’s only native bee) are now protected under the Endangered Species Act. This is the first time any bee species in the United States has made the list.
It’s always worrisome when a new species garners an endangered classification, but it is particularly worrisome that bees are now endangered, as they are such an integral part in U.S. agriculture. As the USDA reports, the value of bee pollination in the U.S. is $14 billion dollars annually, and a huge number of so many fruits, nuts, and vegetables grown in the U.S. require pollination by bees.
Basically, without bees, we can’t grow most foods. That’s terrifying guys. We should all be friends with bees.
So how did the yellow-faced bees of Hawaii become endangered? Habitat loss, invasive predators, and climate change are together responsible for the species’ decline.
While this is very scary, there is hope. Scientists are building artificial nests for these bees to keep out invasive predators, a plan University of Hawai’i entomologist Jason Graham tells National Geographic “…may bring these bees back from the verge of extinction.”
While the yellow-faced bees were the only bees on the list this year, the rusty-patched bumble bee, which is found throughout the U.S., is also being considered for protection, which is just more scariness added on to the scariness that’s already there. We have to do everything in our power to protect our bees, we NEED our bees, here’s hoping that Hawaii does everything in its power to protect its yellow-faced bees, species that seem like they can be saved, if we humans step up and protect them properly.