It was just toward the end of last month that the rusty-patched bumblebee was suggested to be put on the endangered species list by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in what many are suggesting is a “wake-up call” for mankind. The rusty-patched bumblebee is the first bee in continental U.S. history to ever be nominated for the endangered species list.
And, unfortunately, it’s just the beginning.
In Hawaii, seven different species of the Hawaiian yellow-faced bee have seen dramatic decreases in their population levels. These once highly-abundant creatures are now the state’s least observed pollinators.
“What we saw was really alarming—the bees were doing a lot worse than we thought,” says entomologist with Hawaii’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Cynthia King.
Six years ago in 2010, a nonprofit group called The Xerces Society launched a petition that sought to protect these seven different species of yellow-faced bee. The Hawaiian yellow-faced bee is a critical component in the pollination of native Hawaiian plants, as well as all of Hawaii’s unique island ecosystem. If bees were to disappear, it would have somewhat of a domino effect on the ecosystem; bees would disappear, followed by certain plant life, and eventually other species.
The yellow-faced bee is particularly vulnerable to invasive species, specifically other bees that make their way from India, as well as ants. Ants are not native to Hawaii and are quite dangerous to Yellow-faced; they easily prey on these bees that have no defenses against them.
A vital part of protecting and conserving the remaining bee population is protecting their natural habitats. Efforts to help the bees have ramped up since the species made the endangered species list, including placing artificial nest boxes that keep ants out in areas where bee populations have plummeted. This helps the bees to rebuild their dwindling populations.
On a much broader scale, one of the first steps in helping save our rapidly decreasing bee populations is by getting agricultural businesses and government to recognize the extreme damage being done by neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics). These pesticides have become the go-to standard for the industrial agriculture system, and they’re killing off bees by the score.
The science behind these toxic pesticides is all there, but it’s often hidden and shoved behind other issues by the corporate entities using them, Bayer and Monsanto.
If we continue to let these pesticides dictate the direction of our agricultural integrity, we could destroy life as we know it. Bumblebees and honeybees contribute an estimated $3.5 billion to our agricultural system. If we continue to ignore this imminent disaster, we will wake up one day to a world without bees, and see our food systems and natural ecosystems in chaos.
Source: Expanded Consciousness