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BUMBLEBEES ON THE ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST FOR 1st TIME IN THE UNITED STATES

Bees, Wasps, Hornets, Yellow Jackets

BUMBLEBEES ON THE ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST FOR 1st TIME IN THE UNITED STATES

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have designated the rusty patched bumblebee an endangered species. This is the first such designation for a bumblebee and for a bee species in the continental United States.

The protected status went into effect on February 10 and includes requirements for federal protections and the development of a recovery plan. It also means that states with habitats for this species are eligible for federal funds.

"Today's Endangered Species listing is the best—and probably the last hope for the recovery of the rusty patched bumble bee," Senior Attorney Rebecca Riley said in a statement from the Xerces Society, which advocates for invertebrates. "Bumblebees are dying off, vanishing from our farms, gardens, and parks, where they were once found in great numbers."

A large part of the Eastern and Midwestern United States were once filled with these bees, Bombus affinis - however there has been a decline in the last two decades due to habitat loss plus pathogens and pesticides. The bumblebee was found in 31 states and Canadian provinces before the mid- to late-1990s. Since 2000, it has been reported in only 13 states and Ontario, Canada. It has seen an 88 percent decline in the number of populations and an 87 percent loss in the amount of territory it inhabits.  Canada designated the species as endangered in 2012.  The bees live in large colonies that can be made up of 1,000 individual workers. All types of the species have black heads, the rule states, "but only workers and males have a rusty reddish patch centrally located on the abdomen." "The rusty patched bumble bee is one of the first bumble bees to emerge early in the spring and the last to go into hibernation, so to meet its nutritional needs, the species requires a constant and diverse supply of blooming flowers."

 

Last October, the Fish and Wildlife Service gave endangered status to seven species of yellow-faced bees native to Hawaii, the first time any U.S. bees received this kind of protection.

 

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