The rusty patched bumble bee has been granted a spot on the endangered species list by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. There are 29 other species of bees on the list with differing statuses. The extremely compressed timeframe, usually one year from listing proposal to final listing, is an indicator of the urgent need to save this important pollinator.
Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation suggests cutting back on insecticide.
"We know there are many species of native bumblebee that are threatened with extinction in North America", said Sarina Jepsen, director of the endangered-species program at the Xerces Society.
According to the invertebrate conservation group Xerces Society, the rusty patched bumble bee's faces a number of threats including the spread of pests and diseases by the commercial bumble bee industry, other pests and diseases, habitat destruction or adjustment, pesticides, invasive species, natural pest or predator population cycles and climate change. Its population has crashed by 87% since the late 1990s, according to. "Some populations are so small that it is unclear whether they still exist".
Like other bee species, bumblebee is also an important pollinator for crops such as cranberries, blueberries and tomatoes. Imagine our nation's wildlands devoid of flowers, and consider the astronomical cost of hand-pollination of our crops.
A rusty patched bumble bee in Wisconsin in 2015.
Today, only a few small, scattered populations remain in 13 states and Ontario, the Fish and Wildlife Service said.
Parham says the agency is figuring out how to help the bee. Many of these threats act in combination. They are absorbed by plants and can be present in pollen and nectar, making them toxic to bees. The queen is revived in the spring to build a new colony with a new batch of fertilized eggs.
"There's concerns about use of pesticides". People should also allow grass and garden plants to grow after summer to provide a habitat for overwintering bees.
"I think we can do better in the private sector, where landowners working collaboratively can come up with protection for these species without intervention and bureaucratic red tape of the federal government", said Ryan Yates, the group's director of congressional relations.
By listing these bumblebees as endangered, the agency hopes to reverse a 90 percent population decline in recent years.