Are Bees Becoming Extinct?

Maybe some bees, but not all, say scientists.
Karin Heineman, Executive Producer

“I think that the problem of bees going extinct, especially native species, is a huge issue. Honeybees are not a native species in the New World. Some might say they're an invasive species, although people debate whether they should really call them that. In either case, we have all these native bees, which are important for our native plants,” said James Nieh, a professor at the University of California, San Diego.

“So the fact that we're losing these species is a problem because we're not going to get them back. And in fact, some of the same things that are affecting honeybees -- some diseases, pesticides, lack of natural food sources -- are also affecting our native bees. So, I think that is a huge concern,” said Nieh.

“I think loss of habitat is a huge problem for native species. When they no longer have large natural areas due to urbanization or just destruction of habitat, they now have fewer of their natural food sources to go to. The other problem is, frankly, competition from honeybees. Honeybees are very numerous, and in some ways, they probably can outcompete these native bees,” said Nieh.

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Karin Heineman is the executive producer of Inside Science TV.