Bees are part of endangered invertebrates. It’s estimated that more than 5% of invertebrates are endangered species at all times, this includes bees.
Comprehensive studies on endangered bee species have run since 1964. Most endangered species are centralized by The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. The following bee species are considered endangered.
1. Ammobates dusmeti
This species is disappearing fast. It was last seen around 20 years ago in Spain and even a long time ago in France. It’s estimated these bees live in very small areas of just a few square miles in Spain today.
One of the main reasons for the critical endangering of Ammobates dusmeti is the isolation of these bees’ habitats. There’s no genetic exchange between the species and other bee species which makes it even harder for these bees to survive.
Part of the Hymenoptera bee family, the species could be still surviving in parts of South-East Spain. However, there’s not enough evidence to show there’s a large population of these bees still out there.
2. Andrena labiatula
Only 3 specimens of Andrena labiatula have ever been identified in the past. In 1963, research conducted in Ukraine’s Crimea region found this rare species was living in a small Eastern part of the peninsula.
There have been no sights of the species since then even with multiple attempts to further identify the specimen. Some data even shows the species might already be extinct.
Urbanization was named as the primary cause of Andrena labiatula population decline. These bees start to disappear as their natural habitat was developing human settlements.
3. Rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis)
These US native bee species are now considered threatened. There was a time when these bees were widely common in the Upper Midwest and the Eastern part of the country.
However, Rusty patched bumble bee colonies have diminished between 70 and 90% in most of these parts. The most recent studies on these species were carried out in 2014. The species was declared critically endangered.
Excessive urbanization is one of the main causes of extinction. Pollution of grasslands is also important. Climate change through high periods of drought has also been linked to Bombus affinis species endangerment.
4. Franklin’s bumblebee (Bombus franklini)
Little is known about Franklin’s bumblebee existence. The last data on the species was published in 2008. It’s believed this species is critically endangered.
Population decline of Franklin’s bumblebee is often associated with pollution and the rise of invasive species which tend to bring new diseases with them.
Bombus franklini is believed to live in parts of Oregon and Northern California. The last populations have been seen around Douglas and Trinity Counties. The bees live in a habitat of around 200 square miles in both states.
5. Bombus rubriventris
This species is one of the endangered bees that are also believed to be extinct according to some researchers. Only 1 specimen of this species has been captured in 1835.
Almost 200 years later, there’s no other information on this bumblebee species. It’s estimated there are around 250 bumblebee species and Bombus rubriventris used to be among them.
The existence of the species was confirmed by a 1998 scientific publication. But its habitat remains unidentified. The species is classed as endangered and possibly extinct.
6. Suckley cuckoo bumblebee (Bombus suckleyi)
This bee species is now in a critical phase close to extinction. It lives in a vast area of Western North America from Alaska to California. Its preferred habitats are forests and shrubland.
The species is believed to be negatively influenced by decreasing forestation and other habitat alterations such as long periods of drought through climate change. Natural disasters such as storms also affect its numbers.
This species of bees are considered parasitic. Over time, cuckoo bumblebees have lost their pollen-gathering skills. They now resort to taking over other bee colonies.
The queen Suckley cuckoo bumble bee typically enters another bee colony where it instantly kills the queen to take over. Using physical attacks this queen bee takes over the new colony enslaving worker bees found in the colony.
The females of this species are never worker bees. They have reproductive capacity. This is why some of the new female bees of this species leave the conquered colony to mate in another colony.
7. Variable cuckoo bumblebee (Bombus variabilis)
This bee species is also known as an intruder. It typically only intrudes on other bumblebee species. In this case, the Variable cuckoo bumblebee intrudes the colonies of the Bombus pensylvanicus where it takes over a nest or a colony.
It’s now believed this bee species is among the most problematic when it comes to being endangered. Invasive species and residential development negatively impacted this species.
Surviving members of these bees might still be seen in native areas of Central America such as Guatemala and Mexico. Other areas of the Northern US have seen large population numbers diminishing.
The species is believed to be extinct in Canada and the United States. Exceptions can apply to areas of Southern Texas and Southern Arizona.
8. Megachile cypricola
Less than 50 mature bees of this species are believed to live per year today. These bees get their name from the country they inhabit, Cyprus in Europe.
Some historical data may suggest links to other bees from Afghanistan. However, these theories haven’t been confirmed and Megachile cypricola is now believed to be an endangered bee species living in Cyprus.
There are more than 10 sub-species of the Megachile cypricola. However, these bees are endangered as they prefer to nest in open areas subject to plenty of predators.
The species is known for building nests on rocks. The rocky Cyprus terrains are now subject to industrialization and tourism which might be responsible for a diminishing habitat for these bees.
9. Ammobates melectoides
This species of kleptoparasite bees is considered highly fragmented. It used to be present in European countries such as Greece, North Macedonia, Romania, and Hungary. The species is declared extinct in Hungary.
No conservation actions have been related to this species. I believe a growing number of farms and livestock fragment this species further.
The species’ origin is unknown. Some theories place it among the bees that only occur in protected habitats. However, it’s now a diminishing bee species in the countries it was mostly seen in.
10. Andrena stepposa
This bee species has natural habitat in protected parks and steppes in Eastern Ukraine. It’s a highly fragmented species with some reports of sights in Russian natural parks as well.
These bees have been solely associated with collecting pollen from the rare Nonnea pulla flower. I believe the reduced number of flowers found today negatively impacts the population numbers of these species.
The bee species has unknown nesting. Bees of the species are only seen in spring, typically only in April and May. Andrena stepposa has a continuous decline and no known conservation efforts.
11. Bombus brachycephalus
This species is known for living at high altitudes, particularly in the forests of central and Southern America. It has been subject to considerable research over the past few years.
Studies show is numbers have diminished up to 65% in most of its natural habitats. This species is now seen as endangered.
There are multiple reasons for its diminishing population. It believes the growing impact of farming and the use of certain pesticides in agriculture lead to its diminishing numbers.
Since these bees live on the border of forests, they are directly impacted by agricultural practices in these areas. This is why bees are often left without their favorite pollination flowers.
12. Crotch bumblebee (Bombus crotchii)
These bees are endangered even if they nest underground. The species might live underground only going out to eat plants and pollen but it’s still endangered.
The species has been seen in large numbers throughout the state of California. However, it has now become one of the endangered bee species of the US as its population decline has been confirmed at 67%.
Intensification of agricultural practices is mainly responsible for the declining number of species.
Quick urbanization and the growth of suburban areas reduce the natural habitat of these bees.
13. Bombus dahlbomii
This is the Southernmost bumble species in the world. Its presence in Southern America makes it a unique bumblebee. Its habitat includes the grasslands of Argentina, Chile, and Peru.
These bees live at high altitudes, next to forests. However, their numbers have been diminishing considerably.
Research shows it has often been misidentified with other bee species in Peru which makes its numbers smaller in reality.
14. Southern Plains Bumble Bee (Bombus fraternus)
These eusocial bees are found in the US. The population numbers of the bees have been rapidly diminishing.
It’s believed more than 70% of Bombus fraternus bees are now gone.
First estimates show this rate of diminishing populations will eventually lead to the disappearance of the species in 90 years.
Energy production, mining, and residential development led to this endangering of the species. Most of the Bombus fraternus bees left today are found in Southern states as well as in Florida.
15. Bombus haueri
Up to 74% population decline has been registered with Bombus haueri bees.
These are some of the most impacted bee species when it comes to climate change and changing environmental conditions in general. The bees are among the most impacted by volcano activities.
Mostly associated with mountainous regions of Mexico, Bombus haueri are bees that also suffer from invasive species. The rapid decline of this species has also been associated with impactful agricultural and forestry practices.
Bombus haueri bees aren’t migratory. This means the bees cannot move to another location when their habitat is affected.
16. Bombus inexspectatus
Bombus inexpectatus is among the many bee species negatively impacted by growing numbers of tourists. This species is also affected by rising temperatures associated with global warming.
The bees are native to Europe. They are present in sub-alpine regions close to high mountain tops.
Most Bombus inexspectatus are found in Northern Spain and the Southern parts of the Alps in Northern Italy.
These are regions with growing tourism sectors. While the bees are workerless, they are still impacted by rising temperatures and climate change.
17. Bombus reinigiellus
Living in isolated areas in Spain’s Sierra Nevada seemed, the Bombus reinigiellus species is among the endangered bees of Europe.
These bees have been shown to rapidly decline in numbers. While inhabiting a small geographical area, they are mostly affected by climate change and afforestation.
Living next to high mountains, these bees also face urbanization through tourism development. Today, it’s estimated only 250 mature Bombus reinigiellus survive from one year to another.
18. Bombus steindachneri
This species is rapidly declining in Mexico. Historically known for losing around 5% of their population numbers, these bees have declined to nearly 80% today.
The remaining bees of the species inhabit areas around Eje Volcano. They can live in areas of low altitude as the sea level up to mountainous areas.
Intensive cattle ranching, as well as extensive agricultural practices, are quoted when it comes to the most important factors leading to the potential disappearance of this species.
These bees are herbaceous and dependent on terrestrial plants found next to forests. These terrestrial plants aren’t as common as they used to be. This has led to a food shortage for the species.
19. Colletes merceti
These bees have a very limited natural habitat in arid areas of Southern Spain. This habitat has been largely impacted by growing agricultural practices.
Since these bees only inhabit this area, it’s expected they go extinct in a few years.
This endangered species faces limited nesting habitats through a growing agricultural presence. Nesting sites are scarce.
Host plants are also scarce in these parts of the country by arid nature. These hosts plants have also been seen in fewer numbers through the development of industrialized agriculture.
20. Colletes sierrensis
This bee species still survives in parts of Spain, France, and Switzerland. However, it faces diminishing numbers as it lives in isolation.
The species is known for being dependent on grasslands and scarce forests which favor open vegetation and food sources. These areas are endangered and changing.
The change of land use, mainly in favor of agriculture, is what facilities the endangering of the bee species.
The bee species are known for only visiting a single flower. Odonites flowers are visited by these bees to collect their pollen. Odonites flowers only grow next to scarce forests in grasslands.
The more agriculture is practiced the fewer Odonites can grow. Growing infrastructure and rising tourism numbers also favor the disappearance of Odonites.
21. Colletes wolfi
The Colletes wolfi species is endemic to Italy. While it has 2 sub-species, Colletes wolfi faces an uncertain future.
These bees are mostly found in Northern and central Italy. These areas are ideal for Mediteranean vegetation.
Bees of the Colletes wolfi species are dependent on a sole flower to collect pollen. Cynoglottis barrelieri (Boraginaceae) is the flower Colletes wolfi is mostly interested in.
This flower faces an uncertain future. Agricultural destruction and excessive land use limit the natural habitat of the flower and the bees as a direct consequence.
22. Dasypoda frieseana
The Grassland of North Macedonia, Serbia, and Greece are among the favorite habitats of this endangered bee species.
These bees are highly fragmented in habitat, however. There’s little genetic exchange between these populations to facilitate population growth. As a result, the species is endangered.
Severely fragmented, the species is also facing a reduction of natural habitat and Cephalaria and Scabiosa plants. These are the sole plants the species is interested in when it comes to pollination and collecting pollen.
23. Flavipanurgus granadensis
Not all bee species that live close to forests are affected by deforestation. Flavipanurgus granadensis bees are affected by reforestation with non-native tree species.
The diminishing number of native forests combined with a high number of new non-native tree forests leads to the endangering of the Flavipanurgus granadensis species.
These bees have a wide habitat in all Southern Spain. However, these bees also live in fragmented populations with little means of communication with the disappearance of native forests.
Intensive ploughing and other agricultural practices such as the use of pesticides further determines an uncertain future for this species. Bees of these species are rarely seen today.
24. Halictus carinthiacus
This species is endemic to Europe. It’s only found around the Alps in countries such as France, Italy, Switzerland, and Slovenia.
Living in isolation means these species can’t easily reproduce to grow populations.
Excessive urbanization of the areas around the Alps has eventually led to the species becoming endangered.
The quality of the natural habitat has been diminished following human activity. High levels of tourism and a growing number of crops make change the landscape of the habitat irreversibly.
25. Halictus microcardia
The species is known for living in the Balearic Islands. This includes Menorca, Mallorca, Ibiza, and Formentera. Most bees used to inhabit the coastal areas of these islands.
Today, bees are a rare sight in these islands. It’s believed extensive urbanization of beaches in these islands limited the natural habitat of the bees. Extensive tourism and urbanization led to the development of housing and infrastructure on many beaches of the Balearic Islands. As the bees are a rare sight now, they are considered an endangered species.