How could the announcement of the First Bumblebee Declared Endangered in the U.S. be a good thing?
Well first of all, let's start out by saying there is nothing good about this announcement, however, something positive could come from this. This is the first time a pollinator has been put on our endangered species list in the lower 48 states, which then allows more funding, research, universities and government agencies to now switch focus and start working on the issues and what is causing this decline.
You may ask, why haven't they been doing anything with the Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera); they have been having a hard time for many years. You would be right to ask this question, however the honey bee in North America is an invasive species and not native to the U.S., and is used more commercially for pollination services more than any other pollinators. So, by putting Rusty Patched Bumble Bee (Bombus Affinis) on this list, we hope to see new light shed on the problems pollinators are having in general, because helping the bumble bee will also inadvertently help other pollinators as well. This could be the last straw when it comes to providing a reason worthy of applying pressure to the pesticide manufacturers, application processes, labeling and more.
Key threats have been identified as; Commercially reared bumble bees are spreading disease to wild populations, fragmentation and loss of habitat has been widespread, the use of pesticides and other chemicals is killing the bees and their food sources and climate change that has been affecting flower bloom times and exposing bees to warmer and colder temperatures than normal. With all of these combined, it is no wonder the Rusty Patch and other pollinators are having such a hard time. As we continue to poison our ecosystem, we will see more and more insects show up on the endangered and extinct list. The more species added to that list, the closer humans move to the top of the list.
A good resource for more information and what can be done to help can be found at http://www.xerces.org/bumblebees/