Now That Bees Are Endangered, The Rest Is Up To Us

Last week brought big news in the conservation world: For the first time, a bee species — seven of them, actually — were declared endangered.

The seven types of yellow-faced bees native to Hawaii received the designation from the  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The move offers the creatures some newfound protection, even if the agency failed to designate a critical habitat.

Of course, the plight of bees across the U.S., North America and the world has increasingly been on the radar of the environmentally minded in recent years.

U.S. beekeepers lost about 40 percent of their honeybee colonies last year, according to a survey commissioned in 2015. Some studies have linked bee die-offs to the overuse of pesticides. The agriculture industry contests that finding, though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has agreed that one of the world’s most widely used insecticides, imidacloprid, presents a threat to some pollinators.

So what makes last week’s news different from what we already knew? And what can be done to address the issue?

The Huffington Post recently spoke with Tiffany Flick-Haynes, a food futures campaigner at the nonprofit Friends of the Earth environmental advocacy group and an expert in bee populations.