Bees, Status, Survival Of The Fitted

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A rusty patched bumble bee, under consideration for listing as an endangered species by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, pollinates a flower in Madison, Wis. Rich Hatfield/Reuters/File

The CS Monitor has an article today that raises an interesting question, whether the same rules that have worked well for eagles, owls, fish, wolves and bears (among other animal species) would be effective for the humble bumble bee and other similar creatures. We see a very good fit between the problem, which we have noted here frequently, and the solution, whose track record is not perfect but it is clearly the best mechanism we’ve got:

Could putting a bumble bee on the endangered list save it?

By Weston Williams

The past several years have not been kind to the humble bee.

But perhaps none suffer more than the rusty patched bumble bee, orBombus affinis, a fuzzy insect with a rust-colored patch on its abdomen. The bee used to be a common sight across the Midwestern United States, but now, the bee struggles to survive in a habitat broken apart by increased farming and commercial development.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is proposing to list the bee as endangered, which would grant it significant protections and hopefully save the bee from extinction.

The rusty patch has seen its population drop by 91 percent since the late 1990s, according to FWS. And the decline could be even worse than that, since many of the populations measured have not been reconfirmed since the early 2000s.

The rusty patch, like all species of bumble bee, plays an important role as a plant pollinator. Without pollinating insects, the entire ecosystem would be thrown out of balance, since many animals depend on pollinated plants as a food source. While plenty of pollinators have been on the decline for years, the rusty patch would be the first bee in the continental US to receive protection under the Endangered Species Act…

Read the whole article here.

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