A Facebook post claims that bumblebees have recently been classified as “endangered”.
While, sadly, a number of species of bumblebee across the world are endangered, meaning they are at serious risk of extinction, it is not correct to suggest all bumblebees are currently endangered.
One of the main lists of endangered species is the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species which, since 1964, has been cataloguing the “global extinction risk status of animal, fungus and plant species”.
Of the many species of bee catalogued by the IUCN from around the world, 13 bumblebees (known by the genus Bombus) are classified as endangered or critically endangered. The IUCN lists 90 species of bumblebee in total.
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust says there are 24 species of bumblebee in the UK, of which only seven or eight are widespread and abundant. None of the species of bumblebee found in the UK are classified as endangered by the IUCN, although some species which it classifies as vulnerable, such as the Great Yellow Bumblebee, have been classified as endangered in the UK by others. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust says eight species are currently listed on at least one of the English, Welsh and Scottish conservation priority species lists due to a decline in numbers within the UK.
So while it is sadly true that bumblebee numbers are declining, and more may become endangered or extinct in the future, it is not correct to say that all bumblebees are endangered.