This Bumble Bee Was Just Added to the Endangered Species List

Check out these rusty patched bumbles while you still can.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgsbiml/15169109958/">USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab</a>/Flickr

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.


Earlier this week, the rusty patched bumblebee became the first bee in the continental United States to be added to the endangered species list. The designation was one of the Obama Administration’s last environmental moves.

There’s good reason this bee is now on the list: Its population has plummeted by 87 percent since the 1990s. According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, the bee once inhabited two provinces of Canada as well as 28 states, and Washington DC. Today it’s found in only two of its original habitats.

Greg Hottman/Flickr

The combination of disease, climate change, and loss of habitat have contributed to the species’ decline. But perhaps the greatest threat to this and other bees is neonicotinoids, a type of insecticide that’s commonly used on farm crops, pets, and gardens. (My colleague Tom Philpott has written extensively on the subject.) Bumblebees are thought to be even more susceptible to pesticides than honey bees are.

Sadly, many other organisms rely on this species to reproduce: The rusty patched bumble is a pollinator for various plants, including peppers, cranberries, and tomatoes.

Though the insect is the first bee in the continental United States to be placed on the list, seven yellow-faced bees, found in Hawaii, were put on the endangered species list in September of last year.

While the rusty patched bumble bee enjoys more protection under the Endangered Species Act, please enjoy these photos of the fuzzy creatures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate