It’s no secret that the bumble bee is experiencing a population shortage, but now certain species may actually be considered for federal endangered status by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under the Endangered Species Act.
Image Credit: Clay Bolt/Xerces
In particular, the rusty patched bumble bee is an important pollinator of all kinds of plants across the United States in up to 28 states. It has unique qualities, like the ability to pollinate plants in cooler weather, which other pollinators often don’t bother to do.
Unfortunately, its numbers continue to decline and it’s not found in 28 states anymore. Rusty patched bumble bee populations have declined as much as 91% since the 1990’s. The FWS says that the rusty patched bumble bee can now only be found in the following states and regions:
By recommending the species as an endangered species, the FWS hopes we can do more to prevent their extinction, which at this alarming rate of loss, could be imminent for some day in the future unless we do something about it soon.
The species has been threatened by habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change. Some of these reasons can be blamed on human intervention, however some are simply out of our control.
Nevertheless, the Fish and Wildlife Service still reaches out to people to try and make it easier for the rusty patched bumble bee to survive by suggesting people make every attempt to help conserve and restore them. This can be done by planting flowers and leaving them as possible shelters for bees throughout the winter and by reducing pesticide use.
Source: United States Fish and Wildlife Service