Bees added to US endangered species list for the first time
Seven types of the yellow-faced or masked bees once found in great numbers in Hawaii are under threat, federal officials say
Seven types of bees once found in abundance in Hawaii have become the first bees to be added to the US federal list of endangered and threatened species.
The listing decision, published on Friday in the Federal Register, classifies seven varieties of yellow-faced or masked bees as endangered, due to such factors as habitat loss, wildfires and the invasion of non-native plants and insects.
The bees, so named for yellow-to-white facial markings, once crowded Hawaii and Maui but recent surveys found their populations have plunged in the same fashion as other types of wild bees – and some commercial ones – elsewhere in the United States, federal wildlife managers said.
Pollinators like bees are crucial for the production of fruits, nuts and vegetables and they represent billions of dollars in value each year to the nation’s agricultural economy, officials said.