Bees are integral animals to our environment. They’re in charge of pollinating 80% of flowering plants and 75% of fruit, nuts, and veggies in the US.1 The order they’re part of is called Hymenoptera – and they’re joined within that order by ants, wasps, and sawflies.2
Throughout the world, there are 20,000 different species of bee.1 North America is home to 4,000.2 Other insects do pollinate certain plants, but bees are better at the job.2
This is why it’s such a big deal that they’re in trouble. Pesticides, habitat loss, and disease are all major threats to bees.2Since 2006, 30% of honeybee hives have collapsed.3
One species of bee in particular that may be in trouble is Franklin’s Bumblebee.
This bee species is endemic to a small range in the United States that covers parts of California and Oregon.4 They aren’t officially recognized as part of the Endangered Species List, but so few have been seen over the years that people want them to be listed. For example, in 1998 about 94 of these bees were sighted, compare that to just 1 in 2006, and zero in 2008.5
That doesn’t mean we can’t do anything, however. And protecting bees comes with the bonus of helping other species and the environment overall. Planting native plants like wildflowers or grasses help bees because it improves soil health and prevents invasive species from taking over, which pose a threat to bees.3
Learn more about our environment and the food chain with our Sherlock Bones activities!