Save the Bees!


Laura Rico

Bees have been added to the endangered species list for the first time in the history of the United States.

Yes it is true: the bees are dying at an alarming rate. For the first time in the history of the United States, bees have found a spot on the endangered species list. As one of the most hardworking animals on the planet, bees are key components in ensuring the survival of plants, animals, and especially humans. As of now, seven species of yellow-faced bees have been added to the list.

Yellow-faced bees are a population of bees that are found in, and native to, Hawaii. These bees are easily distinguished by their yellow facial markings and black bodies; they more closely resemble wasps instead of the more common honey bee. The initial concern for the instability of the bee population began when a sharp decline in the overall population was observed. The decline was the result of a combination of several factors, including habitat destruction, nonnative plant species and predators being introduced, wildfires, and natural disasters. Many of these factors have very little direct ties to human activity, but habitat destruction is usually caused by urbanization, a product of human activity.

At first glance, bees do not seem like the type of animals that could determine the survival of every living thing on Earth. Yet as irrelevant as they may seem, bees are vital for sustainability of our ecosystem as we know it. Bees account for about 80 percent of the pollination of our food crops: without pollination, there are very slim chances that crops will be able to grow and be suitable for consumption. No crops mean no food, and no food will have detrimental effects on humans and animals alike. The disappearance of humans and animals would be far into the future, but a closer danger is the gradual deterioration of agribusiness.

Besides being essential in several ecosystems, bees serve a crucial role in our economy (without bees, agribusiness would be virtually nonexistent). So I think that for playing such an important role, the fact the bee population has been declining and no one has brought attention to it until now is extremely disappointing.”

— senior Moira Meijaard

Although, now that the yellow-faced bee has been protected under the Endangered Species Act, there will be more help for conservation efforts. Under the act, the seven species of yellow-faced bee may now receive recovery programs and funding from the government. On top of the federal aid, the declaration of their endangered status raises awareness for the cause, allows for other people to learn about the bees’ situation and advocates for their protection.

“I think people should spread awareness, and another way of helping [them] would also be to control the honey farms’ use of chemicals, so that they don’t use anything harmful towards the bees, and to stop destroying the bees’ natural habitats because all of these factors contribute to the bees’ endangerment,” sophomore Sofia Villarroel said.

The yellow-faced bee is the first type of bee to be added on the the endangered species list in the United States, but some are left wondering if they will be the last. As of now, the act will take effect on Oct. 31.