Bees Are Declared Endangered for the First Time in the U.S.

For the first time in history, a group of bees in the U.S. will be protected under the Endangered Species Act, following a recent announcement from wildlife officials.

The group of bees, who are commonly known as yellow-faced bees because of the markings on their faces, are endemic only to the Hawaiian islands. While there are dozens of species, scientists identified several of them who are at risk of extinction and have been calling for their protection for years.

In 2009, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to protect seven of the most at risk species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and now it’s celebrating a win for these bees.

Exciting news – The US Fish and Wildlife Service has just agreed to grant Endangered Species Act protection for seven…

Posted by The Xerces Society on Friday, September 30, 2016

The listing protects seven species, including Hylaeus anthracinus, Hylaeus longicepsHylaeus assimulans, Hylaeus hilaris, Hylaeus kuakea and Hylaeus mana.

The listing unfortunately doesn’t come with a designation of critical habitat, but hopefully that will change after the FWS analyzes more sites. Gregory Koob, conservation and restoration team manager for the FWS in Honolulu, told the AP that for now the listing will allow for recovery programs, more funding and will limit their harm from outside sources.

These bees face a host of threats ranging from habitat loss and fragmentation due to development, pollution, wildfires, invasive plants and animals and climate change. It’s hoped that by helping these bees survive, the native plants they rely on – some of which are also endangered – will also survive with them, and in turn provide food for other wildlife.

“The USFWS decision is excellent news for these bees, but there is much work that needs to be done to ensure that Hawaii’s bees thrive,” wrote Matthew Shepherd, Communications Director for the Xerces Society.

Now that these bees are protected, more may be on their way. Just weeks ago, the FWS announced it was also considering listing the rusty-patched bumblebee, who is also at risk of going extinct. Hopefully, they will also get the protection they need and help raise awareness about the need for urgent action to protect pollinators from the growing number of threats they face.

For more info on how to help protect pollinators, check out the Xerces Society.

Photo credit: Systemlayers

240 comments

Marija M
Marija M10 months ago

tks for sharing

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill11 months ago

good news

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Marie W.
Marie Wabout a year ago

SAD.

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Petra J.
Petra Jabout a year ago

This is very distressing. In addition to planting bee friendly plants, we also need to be careful about the chemicals that we use. Boycott Bayer, Roundup and all other products sold by Monsanto.

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Jennifer H.
Jennifer Habout a year ago

I never would have thought when I was growing up that the bees in my yard would disappear. This is sad for all bees.

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Michelle Brummer
Michelle Brummerabout a year ago

Thanks

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Sylvie A.
SylvieBusy Aabout a year ago

It's a very bad news

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Fi T.
Past Member about a year ago

Does this mean people's awareness on protecting the insects is raised and the poor lives are saved???

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Beth Talmage
Beth Tabout a year ago

Tragic! But I have decided that I must do my part and am planting "bee friendly" habitats in my yard. Did you know that includes dandelions? No more obsessive weeding for me! Seriously, this is a crisis, and I have built flower beds that will bloom with "bee's favorite" flowers this spring. I want our yard to be a haven.

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Kirsty Mayfield
Kirsty Mayfieldabout a year ago

this is super sad! thankyou for sharing :) :) xx

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