Not all bumblebees are endangered

27 September 2021
What was claimed

Bumblebees have been recently listed as endangered.

Our verdict

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, there are 13 species of either endangered or critically endangered bumblebee. None of the species recorded in the UK are classified as endangered by the IUCN.

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.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as missing context because not all species of bumblebee are endangered.

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