Environment

Bees ruled as endangered for first time in US

Hylaeus assimulans is one of  seven species of yellow-faced bee to be placed on the endangered species list
Hylaeus assimulans is one of  seven species of yellow-faced bee to be placed on the endangered species list
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Hylaeus assimulans is one of  seven species of yellow-faced bee to be placed on the endangered species list
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Hylaeus assimulans is one of  seven species of yellow-faced bee to be placed on the endangered species list

Bees around the world face a real challenge to sustain their populations in the face of threats such as habitat loss and pesticides. Hawaiian yellow-faced bees are no different, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has now moved to protect the insects by placing seven species on the endangered list, a first for any type of bee in the US.

The listing of the yellow-faced bee species follows years of work by the Xerces Society, a nonprofit dedicated to conserving wildlife with a particular focus on invertebrates. In 2009, the society first submitted petitions to the USFWS pushing for the protection of seven species of the genus Hylaeus, which are native to Hawaii and are threatened by habitat loss due to land development, the introduction of non-native plant and animal species, and climate change.

One year ago, the USFWS proposed that those seven – the Hylaeus anthracinus, H. assimulans, H. facilis, H. hilaris, H. kuakea, H. longiceps, and H. mana – be classed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act and that recommendation has now been finalized, placing them under federal protection.

While this would normally afford the insects designated critical habitats so their numbers can rebound, the USFSW says it requires further investigation before those spaces can be allocated and finds "designation of critical habitat to be 'not determinable' at this time."

When we sit down to eat dinner at night, there is a good chance bees have contributed to the food on our plates, whether by pollinating the vegetables and fruits that we ourselves are eating or those eaten by the animals we consume, so dwindling populations could have profound consequences. But with honeybee numbers in dramatic decline, the US federal government last year revealed its first-ever national strategy to boost their numbers, so it's possible that Hawaii's Hylaeus species may be joined by a few friends under federal protection before too long.

Source: Xerces Society, USFSW

4 comments
Grampa
While I have documented proof of the Bee's decline it isnt due to climate change. Bee's have been around and survived several ice ages. and the thought that man can influence a climate change is science scumming to the idea that if they have a certain number of scientists to agree that it becomes fact. Science must be done by fact not concinnous..... We haven't seen any warming for fifteen years and will see a cooling trend due to the sun. Our sun has cycles just as everything in the universe. We are subject to this force. an example would be if you would take all the BTU's produced by man from the beginning of our industrial age it wouldn't equal to the heat put out by one volcanic eruption. The same goes for the carbon emissions. The government wants us to believe this so it can pass more laws that control and restrict our freedoms. Many would want us to think w are so powerful but we see their true goals and will not be fooled. Grampa
Daniel Gregory
If you wish for any measure to pass in congress, it must be placed under DOD spending. In this case, it would be adequate. When the Bees die out, so do we, and if that's not a threat to national security, I don't know what is. Grampa, I value your years of experience and wisdom, but unfortunately in this case the argument is not on climate change, it's on habitat change, changes in farming methods, exhaustive bee labor from industrial sized farms. Rather than having more small farms, the government has made it harder for small farms to survive. When it's more financially viable for a farmer to destroy their crops to increase prices, we have a problem. Also, bees eat pollen. If the pollen of a genetically modified crop contains an insecticide, and the bee eats it, it is eating poison. It is not the government we should fear, but the greed of giant corporations.
ljaques
Dan, Grandpa, I agree with you both. But maybe if we put "man" on the endangered list, we'd get rid of Monsanto (aka MonSATAN) who is doing more to kill off more species than any other deadly entity known to man. Bees are cool. I'm thrilled to hear that the bees have been put on the list and the the gov't is actually boosting their numbers! (That's the first positive thing I've seen come out of the Whitehouse in decades) Maybe this is the first step into getting the big chemical companies to stop killing us. Otherwise, man's _toast_. I've been doing my part, planting flowers and gardens to attract pollinators. As I sat out in the yard weeding recently, I was being passed by bee after bee after butterfly. Just being out in nature can be a real thrill. More people should try to get outside and remember these wonders of childhood.
voluntaryist
Daniel: You missed Grampa's point. He does not believe govt. can solve our problems, because it uses force, not reason. And your point, that corps are a danger that govt. will protect us from, is forgetting that it is govt. that created the corp, gave it special protection (no personal accountability). All problems begin with the state. Eliminate it, and people can govern themselves just fine.
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