WASHINGTON — QUESTION:
Were seven bee species added to the federal Endangered Species List?
Yes, seven species of Hawaiian Yellow-faced bees were added in 2016. The next year, an eighth bee was added, a bumblebee indigenous to Maryland and Virginia.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service- "Endangered Species Listing Warranted for 7 Species of Hawaiian Yellow-faced Bees"
Federal Register- 50 CFR Part 17
A viewer sent us a Facebook meme that claims some bees are on the verge of extinction.
"SADLY, 97% OF FACEBOOKERS WON'T REPOST THIS, BUT..7 DIFFERENT SPECIES OF BEES WERE PUT ON THE ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST. IF THE BEES DISAPPEAR STRAWBERRIES, AVOCADOS, COFFEE ALL DISAPPEARS. THIS IS YOUR PROBLEM AND THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL."
So is it true?
Our researchers looked at documents from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, they're the ones who handle the Endangered Species List. Turns out it's true, but it's not new.
Back in 2009, the Secretary of the Interior petitioned the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to study seven species of Hawaiian Yellow-faced bees to be placed on the Endangered Species List.
The agency determined the bees warranted being put on the list in 2011, but, Wildlife officials didn't do it then "due to higher priority actions to amend to the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants."
The seven species--Hylaeus anthracinus, Hylaeus assimulans, Hylaeus facilis, Hylaeus hilaris, Hylaeus kuakea, Hylaeus longiceps, and Hylaeus mana --were officially added to the Federal Registry September 2016.
Later in March 2017, an eighth bee was added, the Rusty Patch Bumble Bee (bombus affinis), which can be found in the Midwest and Virginia and Maryland.
So we can verify, yes seven bee species were added to the Endangered Species List, until an eighth one was added in 2017.
There is one silver lining: being added to the list, gives the bees special protections, like being bought, sold, or shipped between states or overseas.