Its Official: The First Bee Has Been Added To The Endangered Species List


In a tragic move, the rusty-patched bumblebee has taken place in the endangered species list. 




Along with 700 other animal species—this bee is the first ever to receive protections in the continental United States. These bees were commonly found in prairies and grasslands within 31 states in the Midwest and East. Now, they only are found in isolated areas in 12 states and in Ontario, Canada.“There are a few little spots where we know they are,” James Strange, a research entomologist and bumble bee ecologist with the USDA, told Forbes.


It took longer than expected to get this species of bees onto the endangered list thanks to the Trump administration and its weakness over corporate influence.



Forbes reports:

Listing the rusty patched bumble bee was historic because this is the first bumble bee species, and the first bee found on the continental United States, to ever be listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. This listing is the result of a five-year campaign by environmental groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and based on input from tens of thousands of citizen scientists and private citizens...

There was a lawsuit filed from the NRDC over the 6-week postponement of the listing, labeling it as illegal due to no notice or period for comments by the public.

Xerces Society director of endangered species, Sarah Jepsen, had to say this about the announcement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

We are thrilled to see one of North America’s most endangered species receive the protection it needs. Now that the Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the rusty patched bumble bee as endangered, it stands a chance of surviving the many threats it faces — from the use of neonicotinoid pesticides to diseases.

The loss of habitat and human developments played a huge part in the decline of this species of bees. Now that they are listed as endangered, it will ensure protection of tall grass and open fields where the rusty-patched bee would survive in.

Rich Hatfield, a Xerces Society senior conservation biologist asserted:

This is a positive step towards the conservation of this species, and we now have to roll up our sleeves to begin the actual on-the-ground conservation that will help it move toward recovery. There are still hurdles the species will endure from corporations, industries, and developers. So, it will still be unclear if the bee population will be regrown in time. 

“The implications of this listing decision are difficult to overstate,” states a petition from the American Petroleum Institute, National Association of Home Builders, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, The National Cotton Council of America, two candidates from the Secretary of the Interior and Acting Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, requesting a year’s delay in listing the species of bees as endangered.

Without even thinking, they forget that bees are responsible for the growth of one-third of our global food supply. The petition deems the addition of the rusty patched bumble bee to the endangered species list as “one of the most significant species listings in decades in terms of scope and impact on human activities.”

Daryl Fears, from The Washington Post, projects that the group of petitioners will, at some point, file a lawsuit in the hopes of having the rust patched bee species removed from the endangered list, to get their wanted one year waiting period.

The bee population puts $3.5 billion dollars into the economy, but these petitioners think that it shouldn’t be protected. How selfish of them to think that, right? 

The government should not have to be involved, but in this case, they should, due to these industries contributions to the decline in the rusted-patch bumblebee population. The chemicals used in our agriculture industry such as herbicides and pesticides, have destroyed their habitats, and can literally eradicate the species altogether in time. One-third of the U.S. Crop supply relies heavily on pollinators like the rusted-patch bumblebee. 

All opposition to the listing isn’t going to effectively solve the danger of this species of bumblebees dying off. 

A study from the Center for Biological Diversity, “Pollinators in Peril,” was published in February, detailing a devastating number of 347 species of bees that are from North America and Hawaii “are spiraling toward extinction,” and 749 species of bees, which is over half of data thats adequate to examine, bee populations have been forced into near extinction due to huge declines in population. 

Shockingly, many people aren’t in it to save bees, however, there is a petition going around with 128,000 in support for the listing of the rusty-patched bumble bee.“Few disappearing species have made it to this level of support for protection,” states the Xerces Society press release on the bee’s listing. “Because of this collective effort the rusty patched bumble bee now has a chance — and that is something we can all celebrate.”

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