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Warning: Bees are under attack. And that means our very way of life is equally under pressure because we rely heavily on these pollinators to grow our food.

In fact, many of the natural foods we currently enjoy are the result of successful bee pollination, including almonds, apples, cherries, watermelons, broccoli, asparagus, cantaloupes, cucumbers – and beloved blueberries. These berries, specifically, now have a better chance of surviving, thanks to new protections for the Rusty-patched bumble bee that has just been afforded under the Endangered Species Act. This is the second species of bee to be added to the Endangered Species list – a Hawaiian species was added in October 2016.

As the largest producer of blueberries, the United States has plenty riding on the rusty patched bumble bee because blueberries are 90 percent dependent on bees for pollination. Pollination without bees is extremely labor intensive, so we need to do what we can to protect these beings that are so helpful and vital to our current way of life.

Thanks to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, which petitioned for this Endangered Species listing, the outlook for this particular species is looking up, but there’s much more we can, and should, do to ensure the survival of these and other bees. This includes planting bee-friendly flowering plants, herbs, fruits and vegetables; supporting organic farmers who refrain from using bee-killing pesticide, and getting the word out about the bee crisis so that there’s more support for these buzzing beauties.

Image source: Sandrinka/Shutterstock

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