This is sad. The bumblebee is now on the endangered species list for the first time in a “race against extinction,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced yesterday. They placed the rusty patched bumblebee on the list because of a dramatic population decline over the past 20 years. Since the late 1990s, the population of the species has plummeted 87%. Named because of the rust-coloured marks on its back, the bee was once common and abundant across 28 states from Connecticut to South Dakota. Today, the bee is only found in small, scattered populations in 13 states.
To help support the population, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says you should grow a garden or add a flowering tree or shrub to your yard. Even small areas or containers on patios can provide nectar and pollen for native bees. They also recommend limiting the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizer whenever possible or avoid them entirely. Pesticides cause lethal and sublethal effects to bees and other pollinators.
Photo Credit: wnmufm.org