19 hours ago
Hawaiian yellow-faced bees are are Hawaii's only native bees. There are about 60 species of these bees that all descended from a single species ancestor who arrived on the islands approximately one million years ago. In the early 1900′s the yellow-faced bees were some of the most commonly found insects in Hawai’i. By the early 2000’s they were in sharp decline, and in 2015 seven species of Hawaiian yellow-faced bee were added to the federal Endangered Species List. Non-native plants have pushed out the native plants the bees use for food and habitat, while invasive ants attack the bees nests and exclude the bees from their food source, flowers. The biggest threat to Hylaeus are invasive ants (and all ants in Hawaii are introduced). Invasive ants have likely shaped the distribution of Hylaeus today. For example, H. anthracinus probably nested on the ground a lot more often in the past. But when the invasive Big-headed ant was introduced to Hawaii, it pushed H. anthracinus from places where it had been living. Now at James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge, H. anthracinus does not nest on the ground because of high densities of Big-headed ants and other species. At James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working on a study to help understand the effects of invasive ants on nesting Hylaeus. The researchers are trying to develop artificial nest blocks that are designed to prevent the invasive ants from getting in and eating the bee larvae and pupae. One of the biggest things we can do to help the Hawaiian Yellow-faced bee is protect coastal habitat and be aware of where these bees live. A number of volunteer groups in Hawaii work to protect coastal habitat, so volunteering is another way folks can help get involved. #hawaii #oahu #wildlife #bee #conservation #hawaiilife Photo Description: Hawaiian Yellow-face bee.