Sad milestone: the first bumblebee declared an endangered species


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❝ For the first time in the United States, a species of bumblebee is endangered.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday on its website that the rusty patched bumblebee (Bombus affinis), once a common sight, is “now balancing precariously on the brink of extinction.” Over the past two decades, the bumblebee’s population has declined 87 percent…

❝ The news comes just a few months after the first ever bees were declared endangered in the U.S. In September, seven species of Hawaiian bees, including the yellow-faced bee (Hylaeus anthracinus), received protection under the Endangered Species Act…

The threats facing those seven species are similar to the ones that have depleted rusty patched bumblebee populations: loss of habitat, diseases and parasites, pesticides, and climate change. This is a big deal not only for bees but for humans, too—after all, bees pollinate a lot of our food.

❝ “Bumblebees are among the most important pollinators of crops such as blueberries, cranberries, and clover and almost the only insect pollinators of tomatoes,” according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s rusty patched bumblebee profile. “The economic value of pollination services provided by native insects (mostly bees) is estimated at $3 billion per year in the United States.”…

Once spread across half the U.S., rusty patched bumblebees are now found in only 13 states.

You might hope that even an mostly urban realtor like Donald Trump had learned something of the critical role bees and other pollinators play in our food chain. Hope being the operative word. I see little or no display of any such understanding or comprehension.

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2 thoughts on “Sad milestone: the first bumblebee declared an endangered species

  1. Update says:

    “No More Bumbling—Bee Cleared for Endangered Species Listing” https://www.nrdc.org/experts/daniel-raichel/no-more-bumbling-bee-cleared-endangered-species-listing
    In February, the Natural Resources Defense Council sued the Trump administration for illegally freezing the bumble bee’s endangered species listing without public notice.
    And then something incredible happened — the administration backed down and rightfully restored the federal endangered species protection that the rusty patched bumble bee so desperately needs.
    Bees like the rusty patched bumble bee are critical to the security of our food supply. Bumble bees pollinate a vast array of crops, including blueberries, tomatoes and clover.
    This listing couldn’t come at a more critical time. In the last 20 years, the rusty patched bumble bee population has crashed by about 90 percent across its Midwest and East Coast range as a result of the skyrocketing use of toxic neonicotinoid “neonic” pesticides, climate change, habitat loss, parasites and other threats.

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