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Environment and Outdoors

Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Recommended for Endangered List

Xerces Society
Via The Associated Press
A rusty patched bumble bee collects pollen from a flower in Madison, Wis.

Federal wildlife officials have made a formal recommendation that a bumble bee that was once quite common throughout eastern North America, including Maine, be listed as an endangered species.

Mark McCullough with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the range of the rusty patched bumble bee has decreased by 90 percent in the past decade. He says threats to the bee and other pollinators include loss of habitat, diseases and parasites.

“Use of pesticides in our environment have also caused declines in honeybees and could be causing declines in the rusty patch bumble bee, and also climate change is thought to be having an effect on this and other pollinator species,” he says.

McCullough says that while the rusty patched bumble bee was once very common throughout the southern two-thirds of Maine, none have been reported in the state since 2009. He says he believes this is the first bee in the Northeast proposed for listing as endangered.