If you have been watching the news, you may have seen that the Rusty Patched Bumblebee has been added to the endangered list. This is the first bee species, in the Continetal US, to be classified as endangered. Seven other bee species found in Hawaii have been declared endangered in past years.
The Rusty Patched Bumblebee had a wide range, spreading throughout the East Coast and Midwest. Since the 1990’s the population has declined by a whopping 87%. Today, it is found sporadically in only 13 states.
This is extremely alarming because pollinators are responsible for roughly 35% of our food. Pollinators, which include bees, butterflies, birds and various other insects have all been in decline due to pesticide use and habitat loss. CNN reports that even though the Rusty Patched Bumblebee is one of 47 species of bumblebee in North America, at least 25% of our bumblebees are on the verge of becoming endangered.
Now that we know, how our precious pollinators are being effected by our lifestyle, we can start to ask ourselves “how can I help?”
There are small things that we, as individuals, can do to help promote pollinators in your area. You can plant pollinators friendly gardens. This can include a wide variety of plants: honey suckle, milkweed (helps monarchs too!), cone flowers, bee balm, phlox, daisies, lupine, mint, blueberry and strawberry bushes are just a few options.
For more detailed plants lists you can follow the link below to see which plants thrive in your area http://www.xerces.org/pollinator-conservation/plant-lists/
For more information about the Rusty Patched Bumblebee, you can check out the full CNN article here: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/10/us/bumblebee-endangered/