Rusty-patched bumblebees pollinate blueberries and apples among other things. Previously seen most often in the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard, this bee has all but vanished, dropping up to 95 percent in population in the last 30 years. That’s quite a bit in a relatively short period of time. As a result, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to put the rusty-patched bumblebee on the endangered species list, Take Part reports.
The petition was initially made in Jan. 2013. Because no answer was given, the group filed a complaint in May 2014, stating that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to respond within the 90-day time limit. The agency agreed to look at the petition and file a response by Sept. 30, 2015.
“Based on our review of the petition and sources cited in the petition, we find that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted for the rusty patched bumblebee,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded. In other words, this species of bumblebee may just need protection.
A year-long review will be conducted to determine whether or not the rusty-patched bumblebee should in the Endangered Species Act listing, Take Part reports. So far, no other bees are on the list.
“This is a pretty big deal, even though this is just the first step in the listing process,” Sarina Jepsen, Xerces Society’s endangered species program director, told Take Part.
Placing the bumblebee on the endangered species list will not only protect it, but could pave the way for other bee species to be protected by the Endangered Species Act. Do you agree? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.