Recent news became alarming when proclaiming that bees, in general, had become endangered species. Recent inquiries shed some light on the fact that this is actually the case, but only in Hawaii.
Seven species of Hawaiian bees will be placed under the protection of the Endangered Species Act on October 31st. While that’s good news, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has yet to determine a “critical habitat” where the bees can thrive and replenish their population.
Many Factors Have Led To The Decrease Of The Hawaiian Bees Population
Hawaiian bees are native to many of the islands’ ecosystems, so the USFWS still has a lot of research to do before it can agree upon the right habitats. The causes for the bees’ sudden drop in population are linked to wildfires and invasive species of plants and insects. Human development is not without blame, as are various pesticides.
But bees on the continent aren’t really endangered, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Their population has, however, dropped.
Compared to 2014, when there were 2.74 million bee colonies, 2015 saw a decrease, with only 2.66 million colonies nationwide. These numbers only refer to bees bred and farmed for honey. Species of wild bees, unfortunately, are hard to account for.
Beekeepers Have Ways To Multiply The Colonies
The drop in the population of bred bees isn’t really worrying, as the number is still significantly higher than it was ten years ago. At the time, many worker bees began to simply leave their colonies and queens behind. The phenomenon was named the colony collapse disorder.
Since then, prices on honey have doubled. Services of pollinating crop farms with the help of bees have also increased. While the bees aren’t dying, beekeepers feel the effects of financial loss.
Of course, beekeepers have solutions for increasing the bee population. A popular method is splitting a colony in two. For that to be achieved, a new queen bee needs to be bought. Fortunately, queens are bred and sold for this very purpose.
Unfortunately, not the same can be done about Hawaiian bees. Once the critical habitat is established, it will be up to them to propagate again. If that fails, Hawaii’s rich flora may be the one that suffers most.
Image source: Wikipedia