The Rusty Patched Bumblebee on Tuesday became the first officially endangered bee species in the continental U.S. overcoming objections from some business interests and a last-minute delay ordered by the Trump administration. The bees have an enormous range of 13 states including Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. Rusty patched bumblebees nest in underground colonies, sometimes in fields, causing worry for farmers.
Over the past two decades, the bee has declined in nearly 90 percent of its range. The list of suspected causes for the disappearance, according to the agency, reads like an environmental most-wanted list: farm pesticides, household herbicides, human development over bee habitat, disease and climate change.
So now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will devise a plan for returning the Rusty Patched Bumblebee to a "healthy and secure condition".
A couple of years ago, I happened upon a nest in the ground in my garden - I didn't know what type of bumblebee it was but probably the Rusty Patched Bumblebee.