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347 Bee Species Dangerously Close to Extinction

Published: March 8, 2017
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Albert Einstein stated that if bees disappeared from the surface of the earth, the human race would follow in 4 short years.

Of 4,337 native bee species in North American and Hawaii just researched, 347 are precariously close to full-stop extinction. No bees, no food, people. No morning coffee. No roses. No arugula for your salad. Bees pollinate 30 to 80 percent of our food crops, and 90 percent of wild plants and flowers. If you haven’t been concerned about the bees’ fight against herbicides, pesticides, and other toxic chemicals used in the industrial agricultural model it’s definitely time to take notice.

In a report just released by the Center for Biological Diversity, scientists found that nearly one in four bee species is imperiled and at increasing risk of extinction. 347 bees species are close to extinction, but 700 species are in trouble.

Kelsey Kopec, a native pollinator researcher at the Center for Biological Diversity and author of the study said,

“The evidence is overwhelming that hundreds of the native bees we depend on for ecosystem stability, as well as pollination services worth billions of dollars, are spiraling toward extinction. It’s a quiet but staggering crisis unfolding right under our noses that illuminates the unacceptably high cost of our careless addiction to pesticides and monoculture farming.”

The key findings of the study include:

  • Among native bee species with sufficient data to assess (1,437), more than half (749) are declining.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 (347 native bee species) is imperiled and at increasing risk of extinction.
  • For many of the bee species lacking sufficient population data, it’s likely they are also declining or at risk of extinction. Additional research is urgently needed to protect them.
  • A primary driver of these declines is agricultural intensification, which includes habitat destruction and pesticide use. Other major threats are climate change and urbanization.

With recent bee die-offs in the UK blamed on neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides now banned in many countries, school teachers have turned to beekeeping as a teaching tool to try to connect young children with these important pollinators. Others have turned to planting bee-friendly plants in their gardens and purchasing local, raw, organic honey – but this may not be enough to save the bees without a massive overhaul of the industries which have contributed most greatly to their decline.

The main causes for colony collapse disorder, a name for the mass extinction of entire colonies of bees, are agricultural pesticides and insecticides, parasites such as the varroa mite and nosema ceranae, GMO production, lack of nutrition and habitat, and cell phone radiation.

Bees are a unique part of our ecosystem and they need to be protected. If we don’t, then we’re likely not far behind them.

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