The world’s bees are dying – and one particular species may soon become the United State’s first endangered bee. The rusty patched bumble bee has suffered a staggering 90 percent decline in population over the last 20 years. If a new proposal is accepted, it will become the first bee species to receive federal protections in the US under the Endangered Species Act.

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The rusty patched bumble bee has historically lived in the midwestern and northeastern United States, but their population has plummeted over the years due to pesticides, climate change, and habitat loss. This has led the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to propose adding them to the Endangered Species Act.

Related: South Carolina kills millions of bees while spraying for Zika mosquitoes

These bees are not the only species that has suffered a severe drop in numbers. Estimates by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature reveal that over one-fourth of the 47 varieties of bumble bees native to the US and Canada will soon be facing potential extinction. Seven bee species in Hawaii were proposed for protection last year. Since bees play a vital part in crop pollination, their plight is something we should take very seriously.

Via U.S. Uncut

Images via Wikipedia, Flickr