Endangered Species: Honey Bees In The United States Now Protected By Federal Law

The endangered species list has just gained an entry which may be scary for people in the United States. The honey bee, specifically the yellow-faced version, is dying off quickly in Hawaii, and it’s unknown how much this will affect those living in the continental U.S. or the rest of the world, but for the residents of Hawaii, this could lead to a severe food shortage.

For this reason, the yellow-faced bees are now under Federal protection so it’s a crime to kill one intentionally.

With the rise of endangered species on the list throughout the world, it’s become more and more the goal of animal conservationists to stop hunting practices in general. Vegans may be among those who might actually save some of them just out of habit, refusing to consume products made from anything with a face.

Vegans won’t be the only ones affected if honey bees become extinct since bees are known specifically as primary pollen spreaders, keeping flowers and other plants alive. There are also flies and other flying insects which do the same thing, but bees are known for their affinity toward greenery, while flies are more known for their affinity toward anything dead. If plants die off, it means fruits and vegetables are gone and we’re left with only meat, and the animals we often eat feed on plant life.

Honey bees and other varieties are the root of a very important food chain, and ironically, as Gizmodo reports, farmers often crop-dust them to death. Crop dusting is known for eliminating insects which eat the plants before they can be harvested, but bees are insects as well. The chemical doesn’t discriminate.

Other things are also driving yellow-faced bees to the endangered species list, such as people simply swatting them instead of letting them out of their homes. We might want to look into more humane ways to remove them from our living environments so they can survive as a species.

Scientists in Hawaii have built “shelters” for the bees to live in to prevent “alien” ant species from eating their usual homes. There are no native species of ants in Hawaii, and they are part of what’s killing off the honey bees. Entomologist Jason Graham has devised how to build a structure where the yellow-faced bees can thrive without getting their homes eaten.

Graham suggests taking wooden blocks and drilling holes in them large enough for the bees to inhabit. They are hung from a branch using a cord covered in a sticky substance which prevents invading crawlers like ants from reaching them. It might not work with the invasive species, such as an Indian native bee which competes for the same flowers and hiding places. It’s too early to tell if the wooden blocks will be enough to bring the yellow-faced honey bee back from the endangered species list.

Another possible solution is special habitats where scientists are hoping the bee can thrive.

One of the biggest problems the yellow-faced honey bees face is extreme weather conditions. Tsunamis can easily destroy any progress being made to preserve a species, a force of nature which cannot be stopped. National Geographic says that 40-foot waves from an intense storm surge wiped out an entire population of the bees living in a rock jetty in 2015.

This could mean that climate change and global warming are also to blame for the Hawaiian native bees dying off so quickly, and slow progress is being made to head it off. It may be possible that recent revolutions in automobile design and recycling methods could also aid in saving the yellow-faced honey bees from remaining on the endangered species list for the next decade.

[Featured Image by Joseph Calev/Shutterstock]