Science

Are Hawaii Bees Nearing Extinction?

By valerie gentallan , Oct 04, 2016 05:30 AM EDT
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A number of yellow-faced bee species were reported to be nearing extinction in Hawaii, according to environmental authorities. Seven Hawaii bee species were moved under federal protection, making it a first for the United States to add a group of bees to the federal endangered species list.

Over the past century, the presence of yellow faced-bees in Hawaii have slowly declined. According to the U.S. Fish Wildlife and Service (FSW), yellow-faced bees, together with the 39 plants under its protection, have declined in numbers due to man-made pollution, wildfires or crop dusting.

However, non-native species have caused greater harm to the lives of these yellow faced-bees. These non-native bees from India, which now thrive in Hawaii, have become competition for plants and nesting areas. Foreign ants also posed to be a problem, as they also fed on yellow-faced bees' larvaes in their nesting places. 

Bees play a very important role in the eco-system. As part of the food chain, bees act as pollinators. Pollinators aids fertilization by transferring pollen from the male anther of the flower, to the female stigma of another or of the same plant itself. This results to the growth of the seed and fruit.

Pollination has made possible over $19 billion worth of crops in the U.S. in 2010. Without bees, most plants cannot reproduce. The consequence of the extinction of these bees in Hawaii could affect the health and volume of crop yields, which will eventually affect the food chain in which we all are part of.

Jason Graham, an entomologist from the University of Hawaii, told the National Geographic that building artificial nests with traps can protect larvaes from ants. Graham devised the nest after a careful study of the bees' egg laying process. 

The seven yellow-faced bee species was added to the federal list on Friday. The listing decision was announced in the Federal Register, ABC reported. 

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