Tags: rusty patch | bumble bee | endangered

Bumble Bee Endangered: Rusty Patch Numbers Down 87 Percent

Image: Bumble Bee Endangered: Rusty Patch Numbers Down 87 Percent

(Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Wednesday, 11 Jan 2017 06:37 AM

The rusty patch bumble bee has been listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after its population tumbled by 87 percent.

A combination of circumstances was blamed: loss of habitat; disease and parasites; use of pesticides that directly or indirectly kill the bees; climate change, which can affect the availability of the flowers they depend on, and extremely small population size.

The agency said insects, mostly bees, provide pollination services valued at an estimated $3 billion each year in the United States.

The endangered bees pollinated many economically important crops such as tomatoes, cranberries, and peppers, said the agency, but now can only be found in small, scattered populations in 13 states and one Canadian province, reported the Fish and Wildlife Service.

"Our top priority is to act quickly to prevent extinction of the rusty patched bumble bee," said Tom Melius, the agency's midwest regional director. "Listing the bee as endangered will help us mobilize partners and focus resources on finding ways right now to stop the decline."

"Pollinators are small but mighty parts of the natural mechanism that sustains us and our world," said Melius. "Without them, our forests, parks, meadows and shrublands, and the abundant, vibrant life they support, cannot survive, and our crops require laborious, costly pollination by hand."

Conservation organizations like the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation praised the move to protect the bumble bee."We are very pleased to see one of North America's most endangered species receive the protection it needs," Sarina Jepsen, director of endangered species at the Xerces Society, said in its statement.

"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."

"Today's Endangered Species listing is the best — and probably last — hope for the recovery of the rusty patched bumble bee," Rebecca Riley, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. "Bumble bees are dying off, vanishing from our farms, gardens, and parks, where they were once found in great numbers."

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The rusty patch bumble bee has been listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after its population tumbled by 87 percent.
rusty patch, bumble bee, endangered
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2017-37-11
Wednesday, 11 Jan 2017 06:37 AM
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