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Bumblebee Has Officially Been Added To The Ever-Growing List of Endangered Species
Our beloved bumblebee has now officially been added to the list of endangered species along with the grizzly bear, northern spotted owl, and gray wolf.
According to National Geographic:
“The rusty-patched bumblebee (Bombus affinis), once a common sight, is “now balancing precariously on the brink of extinction,” according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Once thriving in 28 states and the District of Columbia, but over the past two decades, the bee’s population has plummeted nearly 90 percent.
There are more than 3,000 bee species in the United States, and about 40 belong to the genus Bombus—the bumblebees.
Advocates for the rusty-patched bumblebee’s listing are abuzz with relief, but it may be the first skirmish in a grueling conflict over the fate of the Endangered Species Act under the Trump administration.”
According to James Stranger, a research entomologist, and Bumblebee ecologist:
“There are a few little spots where we know they are. But only a really few spots.”
Scientifically the bee is referred to as Bombus affinis, named for the red patch on their abdomen. The original listing date as an endangered species was planned for February 2018, but it was not until recently that they were listed.
According to Xerces Society director of endangered species Sarah Jepsen:
“We are thrilled to see one of North America’s most endangered species receive the protection it needs.
Now that the Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the rusty-patched bumble bee as endangered, it stands a chance of surviving the many threats it faces — from the use of neonicotinoid pesticides to diseases.”
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:
“Bumblebees are among the most important pollinators of crops such as blueberries, cranberries, and clover, and almost the only insect pollinators of tomatoes.
The economic value of pollination services provided by native insects (mostly bees) is estimated at $3 billion per year in the United States.”
One of the significant contributing factors in the bumblebee decline was human encroachment which eventually led to the loss of their natural habitat.
Rich Hatfield, a Xerces Society, a senior conservation biologist, says:
“While this listing clearly supports the rusty patched bumble bee, the entire suite of pollinators that share its habitat, and which are so critical to natural ecosystems and agriculture, will also benefit.
This is a positive step towards the conservation of this species, and we now have to roll up our sleeves to begin the actual on-the-ground conservation that will help it move toward recovery.”
A large amount of the plants grown in America are dependent on pollinators like the bumblebee. Due to the reduction in their population we have become more reliant on the use of pesticides and herbicides.