The federal Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list rusty patch bumble bees under the Endangered Species Act because of declining populations. Agri-Pulse reports the proposed rule was scheduled to be published in the Federal Register Thursday. Petitions to the Fish and Wildlife Service say the bumble bee “is not only an important pollinator of prairie wildflowers but also of cranberries, blueberries, apples, alfalfa and numerous other crops.”
The Fish and Wildlife Service says the number of rust patch bumble bee populations has declined by 91 percent. The proposal lists stressors to bumble bees as pathogens, pesticides, habitat loss and climate change. The Service points specifically to neonicotinoids use in agriculture that correlates with the decline in populations. The proposal starts a 60-day comment period and a final decision is expected in September of next year.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed listing the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Endangered species are animals and plants that are in danger of becoming extinct. Identifying, protecting and recovering endangered species is a primary objective of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species program.
What is a rusty patched bumble bee?
Rusty patched bumble bees live in colonies made up of a single queen and female workers. Males and new queens are produced in late summer. Queens are the largest sized bees in the colony, while workers are the smallest. All rusty patched bumble bees have entirely black heads, but only workers and males have a rusty reddish patch centrally located on the back – on the second abdominal segment.