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Bees Are Officially Endangered Now

On Monday, seven kinds of bees joined the endangered species list, so think twice before swatting them away from your food.

by Allison Schaller
Oct 31 2016, 4:23pm

Not the bees!

On Monday, seven kinds of bees native to Hawaii joined the endangered species list—a first for the buzzing insects—and will be protected under the rules of the Endangered Species Act, according to CNN.

Although bees can be menacing nuisances for anybody who enjoys the occasional outdoor picnic or whatever, many forget that bees are a crucial part of the food industry. Bees alone are responsible for pollinating about $9 billion worth of nuts, fruits, and vegetables across the US every year, and experts believe wiping them out would cause a massive ecological disaster.

"I have to say that it is mighty darn lovely having the White House acknowledge the indigenous, unpaid, and invisible workforce that somehow has managed to sustain all terrestrial life without healthcare subsidies, or a single COLA, for that past 250 million years," Sam Droege, one of the country's foremost native bee experts, told the Washington Post.

While the change only protects specific species of bees, the global bee population has declined rapidly over the past few years due to habitat loss, non-native bee populations, competing invasive species, pesticides, wildfires, and loss of genetic diversity.

The population of the common bumble bee is also dangerously close to earning a spot on list. Yellow jackets, though, are one of the bee species not even close to endangerment, so we can continue swatting those angry assholes out of our faces and away from our sodas for years to come.

Read: How Bees Save the Global Economy $150 Billion a Year