This article was edited on March 28th, 2017, to make a factual correction.
These bees, native to the east coast and midwest parts of the United States, as well as some parts of Canada, became the first bee in the US to be placed on this list. It was a years-long debate, and the decision was finally made on Tuesday, March 21st, 2017. However, even after the decision was really made, there was a month-long delay in reviewing the situation thanks to the Trump administration according to the Washington Post. In fact, the Natural Resources Defense Council even pulled a lawsuit because of the delay; however the decision passed Tuesday makes the lawsuit a moot point since this news is now in the public eye. It was meant to be in the public eye on February 10th.
“The science is clear — this species is headed toward extinction, and soon. There is no legitimate reason to delay federal protections for this bee.” Said the Natural Resources Defense Council.
In the last two decades, these bees have lost about 90% of their range in the US. There’s many factors that are believed to have helped this process along. These factors include things such as climate change, disease, pesticides, herbicides, and humans in general taking over bee habitat.
There are things you can do to help the bee.
If you’re interested in doing a part to keep these species alive (and doing so wouldn’t cause a danger to your personal health), you can consider doing the following:
- Avoiding the use of pesticides.
- Planting native wild flowers for the bees to pollinate around your home and in your garden. These flowers will bloom each year.
- Provide housing for bees. Yes, you can actually do that! Here’s a PDF on how to make a bee hotel.
EDIT: As it would turn out, bee hotels will not help this specific bee. (However you can still make some for other types of bees!) For this bee, it’s best to stick with the wildflower idea.