Several Species of Bees Added to US Endangered Species List

October 12, 2016

The ruling:

On September 30, 49 species of plant and wildlife from the Hawaiian Islands joined the endangered species list. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service included seven yellow-faced bees (Hylaeus anthracinus, H. assimulans, H. facilis, H. hilaris, H. kuakea, H. longiceps, and H. mana) in this ruling which will go into effect as of October 31.

The attention brought to the dwindling strains of this species may be beneficial. Now that these bees have been recognized, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must “analyze the best available scientific data in order to identify specific areas appropriate for critical habitat designation and to analyze the impacts of designating such areas as critical habitat” (“Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Status for 49 Species From the Hawaiian Islands”).

Bees play a vital role in the food production process, pollinating plants that yield fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Are you a fan of peaches? Perhaps coffee? Without bees, these crops and many more would grow scarce or begin to perish.

How to help:

Plant flowers that produce pollen or nectar. Nurture them with bee-friendly pesticides like sulfur (fungicide), serenade (biological fungicide), insecticidal soap, petroleum-based oils, B.T. or Bacillus thuringiensis, and herbicides.

Cooks may benefit from planting an herb garden. Not only will this elevate the flavors in a meal, but many herbs act as a food source for bees too. Here are some of the herbs that will attract pollinators: Lavender, Hyssop, Comfrey, Sage, Thyme, Marjoram/Origanum/Oregano, Summer Savory, Mints (Mentha), Parsley, Dill, Lemon Balm, Rosemary, Fennel, Angelica, Wild Bergamot, Woundwort, Betony, and Myrtle.

These plants could also be utilized in homemade bath products like bath bombs, lotions, scrubs, or soaps.

When purchasing plants, it is important to ensure that any ready grown herbs or flowers were cultivated without pesticides as well. If all else fails, pick up some seed packets.

When possible, purchase organic or local produce. Check out the San Marcos Farmers Market for the freshest food in town.

Holding onto honey:

Supporting the mass production of honey may be more harmful to bees than beneficial. Transportation, the culling of hives, the use of antibiotics, and the shortened life span of queen bees complicate the situation. With an increasing amount of studies surfacing in defense of the intelligence of bees, both producers and consumers alike are investing in more ethical practices.

In this situation, it is best to be mindful and curious. Browse your supermarket with care, searching for manufacturers that utilize sustainable and ethical beekeeping practices.

San Marcos is home to Busy Bee Yerba Maté, a beverage company that sources its honey from a local, sustainably produced resource: Burleson’s Honey.

All of Burleson’s Honey products are True Source certified, meaning their company adheres to the following pledge: “We pledge to adhere to the standards of True Source Certification. We pledge to protect our customers and consumers, as well as the global reputation of honey products, by ensuring to our utmost ability that honey is ethically sourced in a transparent and traceable manner from known beekeepers and brokers; that honey moves through the supply chain in full accordance with U.S. law and without circumvention of trade duties; that it carries truthful labeling as to its source, has been tested to ensure quality, and has been handled in a safe and secure manner from hive to table.”

Busy Bee also donates a portion of their profits to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, “a nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat.”

Busy Bee Yerba Maté comes in three different flavors: Ginger Limeade, Orange Blossom, and Lavender Lemonade (note: Lavender Lemonade is their honey-free alternative).

Keep up the buzz:

Finally, do not forget the bees. There is still much to be learned about bees and there are plenty of controversial opinions on the subject of their protection. Keep the conversation going.

A little goes a long way. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began drafting this ruling on September 30, 2015 and accumulated “41 unique public comment letters (including comments received at the public hearing) on the proposed listing of the 49 species” throughout several comment periods. Speaking up could prevent the loss of additional dwindling species.

Read more:

List of Foods We Will Lose If We Don’t Save the Bees
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Status for 49 Species From the Hawaiian Islands
Another Reason We Can’t Live Without Bees: They Can Deliver Pesticides
If All The Bees In The World Die, Humans Will Not Survive
The Caffeinated Lives of Bees
Ten things to do to help honeybees

Article originally published through San Marcos Corridor News.


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