Carly Nairn in Undark:
In a time of unprecedented species extinction, when seemingly every day brings news of yet another animal or plant on the precipice of population collapse, one of the creatures society depends on the most is fading with little fanfare: the humble, neighborly bumblebee. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, 12 of the 50 bumblebee species in North America are listed as at-risk, some declining by almost 90 percent in the last two decades.
As an avid honeybee keeper and environmental journalist, I don’t take any bee’s place within the world of pollinators lightly. But whereas there has been much ado about honeybees in recent years, there has been less angst over bumblebees. While their popular counterpart is making a comeback, several bumblebee species are now at risk of extinction. This contrast in fates says a lot about the different environmental pressures facing the two types of bees, but it also reveals a lot about our own, flawed ideas about conservation.