American bumblebee
Image: Wikicommons

Feds Accused of Failing to Protect Bees in Lawsuit

The lawsuit argues that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's failures put multiple species of bees and the U.S. food supply in jeopardy.

A conservation group this week sued the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for failing to protect multiple species of bees. In the lawsuit, the Center for Biological Diversity argues that the Service's failure puts both the species and the U.S. food supply in jeopardy.

In a statement, Jess Tyler, a bee scientist and researcher for the center, called the "decline of native bees" in the country "preventable."

"America's bumblebees are in deep trouble, and it's critical for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to stop their plunge toward extinction," Tyler said, adding, "We still have time to save these life-bringing pollinators."

According to the complaint, the center submitted petitions to the Service, requesting that it protect American bumblebees, Southern Plains bumblebees, variable cuckoo bumblebees, and blue calamintha bees by listing them as endangered species.

In the request, the center cited its own research showing that the majority of America's native bee species are in decline and nearly one-quarter of the populations are at risk of extinction. The center added without bees, agricultural operations and the environment would be ruined since plants rely on animal pollination.

On its website, the Service also warns about declining bee populations and lists threats to pollinators, such as loss of habitat, disease, pesticides, and climate change. According to other sources like The Bee Conservancy, bees pollinate one-third of the food humans eat, which amounts to more than $15 billion to the value of US crop production.