Stay on target
If you used to frolic around the pool during the summer dodging bumblebees but realize there don’t seem to be as many as they used to be, you’re on to something. The rusty patched bumblebee is now considered an endangered species according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
This is the first bee species in the United States to be classified as such, and in fact, there’s a race going on right now amongst conservationists to keep it from going extinct entirely. It would be a sad day for sure, but it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility. The population of the rusty-patched bumblebee has, in fact, shrunken by a whopping 87% since the late 1990s, which is startling given all the ways humans and wildlife benefit from their actions.
Bees are responsible for pollinating various fruits and crops around the world like tomatoes and melons in a percentage that encompasses 35% of the world’s food supply. But what’s causing this epic downsizing of bees worldwide?
Many of the reasons the bee is disappearing are due to a loss of habitats since nearly 40% of all of our land is utilized for agriculture according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. But there’s also chemical use and climate change to blame too, neither of which are simple things to stop. If we’re going to see any kind of drastic improvement or renaissance of this particular bee species, however, we’re going to have to pay close attention.
This isn’t the first bee that’s been added to the endangered list in all of North America, however. It comes added to a list of over 47 species that have been labeled as endangered. Hopefully, now that awareness is being raised for this particular species it will have a fighting chance at survival going forward.