For the first time in history bees have been added to the federal list of endangered species. This is a big deal.
As many of you probably know I’m a hobby beekeeper and I love my honeybees. But the honeybees aren’t the most important to the health of our environment. The most important bees are the wild species like the many types of bumblebees. These wild bees are essential for pollinating and keeping ecosystems alive. And the wild bees are in serious decline.
So it’s great news that bees are being added to the Endangered Species List. Seven bee species native to Hawaii are now protected. It’s likely more bee species will be added. Here is a lovely short documentary about another great candidate, the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee. This is a beautiful little film and I highly recommend it. It’s about twenty minutes long.
Bees are declining due to a variety of factors including habitat loss, pesticides and wildfire. I just learned that my neighbor across the cul-de-sac lost their hive due to pesticide poisoning. Apparently their bees had foraged out into a yard where pesticides were being used and brought the poison back to the hive. Very sad and troubling.
So, the very first step we can take to help is to avoid using pesticides, especially those in the “neonicotinoid” family. This includes the chemical Imidacloprid which is the most widely used pesticide in the world. Due in large part to the heavy impacts on honeybees the European Union has now seriously restricted the use of neonicotinoids.
Listing the bees on the Endangered Species List allows authorities to provide recovery programs and get funding for protection. That’s a super important step that will complement the growing number of people (and nations) who are moving away from using dangerous pesticides.
So go forth drop the pesticides and Bee Happy! OK, I’m sorry I can really get going with the BEEautiful puns.
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