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Indybay Feature
Mon Mar 20 2017 (Updated 03/23/17)
Landmark Report Reveals Hundreds of Native Bee Species Sliding Toward Extinction
Mon Mar 20 2017 (Updated 03/23/17)
Threats to Native Bees Include Severe Habitat Loss and Escalating Pesticide Use
In the first comprehensive review of the more than 4,000 native bee species in North America and Hawaii, the Center for Biological Diversity has found that more than half the species with sufficient data to assess are declining. Nearly 1 in 4 is imperiled and at increasing risk of extinction. The new analysis, "Pollinators in Peril: A systematic status review of North American and Hawaiian native bees", reveals that more than 700 species are in trouble from a range of serious threats, including severe habitat loss and escalating pesticide use.

The widespread decline of European honeybees has been well documented in recent years, but until now much less has been revealed about the 4,337 native bee species in North America and Hawaii. These mostly solitary, ground-nesting bees play a crucial ecological role by pollinating wild plants and provide more than $3 billion in fruit-pollination services each year in the United States.

“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,” said Kelsey Kopec, a native pollinator researcher at the Center and author of the study. “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.”

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See Also: An Historic Day: Protection for the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee

Related Feature: Monarch Butterfly Population Drops by Nearly One Third
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