Keep Your Eye out for Rare Bumblebees

Since we are out observing and photographing wildflowers all the time, our friends over on the zoology side of the Natural Heritage Program are asking us to keep our eyes out for a couple of bumblebees which might be in severe decline. On February 10, 2010, a broad coalition of scientists submitted a letter to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) requesting that they create new regulations to protect wild bumble bees from threats posed by commercial bumble bees. The letter was signed by over 60 scientists with research on bumble bees and other bees. A recent status review by Dr. Robbin Thorp and The Xerces Society established that at least four species of formerly common North American bumble bees have experienced steep declines; two of those species teeter on the brink of extinction. A major threat to the survival of these wild bees is the spread of diseases from commercially produced bees that are transported throughout the country. The two in our area are the yellow banded bumble bee and the rusty patched bumble bee. Fact sheets about these bumblebees can be found at the following website: http://www.xerces.org/bumblebees/

Yellow Banded Bumble Bee

Rusty Patched Bumble Bee

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