Despite the temporary freeze on new federal regulations enacted by Trump, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services declared the rusty-patched bumblebee a federally endangered species. It is the first bumblebee ever to be named to the Endangered Species List.
The rusty-patched bumblebee, named for the ruddy marks on the insect’s back, once was a far-ranging species found in 28 states from Connecticut to South Dakota.The bumblebee has seen an 87 percent drop in the past 20 years. Now the bees are found only in small, isolated populations.
All bees are extremely important for both agriculture and the pollination of native plants. Specifically, the rusty-patched bumblebees pollinate valued crops such as tomatoes, cranberries, and peppers. One-third of all food is pollinated by bees.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, people can help these bumblebees’ populations recover by growing a garden, planting native flowering trees and shrubs, and eliminating the use of pesticides.