The rusty patched bumblebee has been officially added to the endangered species list and it has now joined the gray wolf, grizzly bear, the northern spotted owl and 700 other endangered species.
This bee is most common in temperate climates. It is absent from the lowlands in India and Africa, but it has been introduced to New Zealand and Australia to help the pollination of numerous flowering plants. Bumblebees are hairy and robust, about 1 inch long and are black with orange or yellow bands.
They live in organized groups and they usually nest in the ground. Here are several facts about bumblebees you have probably never heard of:
• Male bumblebees do not have stingers
• Only the queen bumblebee can survive the winter
• Bumblebees like mountains and they don’t mind the cold
• Their tongues can be in different sizes
• Bumblebees never share their honey
• They always stay close to their home
• Some plants may trick bumblebees into pollinating them, such as the Venus’ Slipper plant
This is the first bee ever which has been protected in the US. Its population has been estimated by 95% and now it exists in isolated places in the province of Ontario, Canada and in 12 other states.
The campaign to get the bee onto the endangered species list was delayed and it took years and enormous efforts by environmental groups and entomologists.
According to Sarah Jepsen, who is a director of the Xerces Society, after receiving the protection it needs, the bumblebee will get a chance to survive numerous threats, such as the use of neonicotinoid pesticides.
Other major factors which played an important role in the bee’s decline were the human encroachment as well as the loss of habitat. However, the protection of the bee will contribute to the conservation of the open fields and tall grasses where this bee should thrive.
In other words, all other pollinators will benefit too because they are of utmost importance for agriculture and natural ecosystems.
Nevertheless, the designation of the bee could still face challenges from certain developers, corporations, and industries, which makes the rejuvenation of the species uncertain.
A petition from the National Association of Home Builders, American Petroleum Institute, and the National Council of America has requested a year’s delay in the listing.
The petition considered the listing of the bee as one of the most crucial things when it comes to the scope of human activities.
Moreover, the factory farms, the comprising herbicide and pesticide manufacturers, genetically modified crops as well as all other contributors to the rapid decline in the bee’s number have not initiated any stewardship practices.
Ironically, the destruction of the natural landscape due to a prolific use of herbicides and pesticides on crops has significantly reduced the bumblebee pollinators on which almost one-third of the crops in the U.S. depend.
A study performed by the Center for Biological Diversity revealed stunning 347 bee species native to Hawaii and North America which are at risk of extinction and 749 species of bees whose number is decreasing.
According to the Xerces Society, the listing of bumblebee as endangered species is the only way the bee can get a chance to survive.