Since 2006, beekeepers have been realizing that bees have been dying at an increasingly high rate. The Rusty Patch bumble bee is now the first bumble bee to have been added to the endangered species list. The population of the bee has decreased 87% since the 1990s. Many more bees are likely to be added to the endangered species list, and three more bee species are being considered at this time.
To many, this may sound like good news, as almost everyone hates bees; but, in reality, this could be catastrophic. Bumble bees pollinate a third of our crops. The service done by bees is worth about $3 billion a year. The decrease in bees will not only threaten our food supply, but biodiversity as well. It is unclear what is causing populations of bees to decline. Some suggestions include a mysterious affliction, named Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a parasitic mite that feeds on the blood of bees, viruses, bacterial diseases, and fungi. Not many people besides beekeepers are interested in ways to save the bees, but those who are have been planting more flowers and reducing their use of pesticides.