New Report: Hundreds of Bee Species Headed Towards Extinction

A new report by the Center for Biological Diversity finds that bee populations are continuing to decline at an alarming rate while pesticide use and habitat destruction continue at a rapid pace. The study evaluated over 14,000 bee species and found over half of those species on the decline and nearly a quarter at risk of extinction. The bees play an important role in pollination and maintaining a biodiverse ecosystem. With their important role in agricultural production, they also have a large value to the American economy.

This new study is among a growing body of research that supports evidence of a declining bee population. In 2015, a report from a United Nations group, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services found that populations are declining for 37% of bee species, with 9% of butterfly and bee populations facing extinction.

You can help out your local pollinators by creating a natural habitat in your garden and planting bee friendly plants. Here’s a bee friendly list from Michigan State University Extension. It is also important to avoid the use of pesticides. Beware of seeds coated with insecticides (buy organic seed only) and read the labels on your compost. Many compost mixes contain imidacloprid – a deadly insecticide disguised as “vine weevil protection.” If you don’t have a garden, you can always support your local beekeepers by buying honey or beeswax!

Article adapted from TIME.

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