Seven species of yellow-faced bees were declared endangered for the first time in history last week, bringing a buzz to the conservation world.
The bees, who are native to Hawaii, have found themselves newborn protection from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act.
In recent years, bees across the world have been closely watched after U.S. beekeepers lost almost 40 percent of their honeybee colonies last year, according to a United Nations-sponsored report released in February.
Pollinator species like bees and butterflies being in danger is threatening to the entire world food supply, affecting everyone on the planet. About 75 percent of the world’s food crops depend on pollination. These critical pollinators are responsible for feeding about 90% of the world. The food chain will slowly but surely crumble. If the bees go, plants will too, and then the animals that eat the plants, and then eventually humans.
Not only that, but bees provide pollination facilities to agriculture, which is valued at more than $9 billion yearly.
Bees, the U.S’s busiest workers, are one of the strongest foundations to our ecosystems. Their sharp decline are due to many factors such as habitat loss, pesticides, wildfires, loss of genetic diversity, mites that feed on their blood, and even climate change.
Luckily, this new protection status allows authorities to “implement recovery programs, access funding and limit their harm from outside sources,” according to Gregory Koob from the Fish and Wildlife Service.
So how can people who are concerned about the bees do right now? Many things.
• Plant pollinator-friendly habitats in your backyard
• Don’t use pesticides or chemicals in your lawn or garden
• Buy local and raw honey
• Keep weeds (a food source for bees)
• Place fresh water outside (bees are thirsty!)
• Support local farmers and buy organic
• Avoid being stung (they legit can smell fear!) They are busy working, don’t get in their way.
• Learn the difference between honeybees and wasps
• Become a beekeeper
• Pass pollinator-friendly resolutions or policies in your city, at your university, and school.
With the help from everyone, we can save the bees together.