By Amy B Wang
The bees are dying.
For the first time in the United States, bees have been placed on the endangered-species list. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Friday determined that seven species of yellow-faced bees, all native to Hawaii, should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.
All seven species belong to the Hylaeus genus of bees. Together, the wasp-looking bees are more commonly known as “yellow-faced” or “masked” for their yellow-to-white facial markings.
These species are responsible for pollinating some of Hawaii’s indigenous plant species, many of which are threatened themselves.
Karl Magnacca, a Hawaii-based entomologist, told the Associated Press that efforts to have the bees federally protected took nearly a decade.
“It’s good to see it finally come to fruition,” he told the AP, adding that yell0w-faced bees tend to favor the more dominant trees and shrubs in Hawaii, which helps “maintain the structure of the whole forest.”