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: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

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