The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on [Sept. 21] proposed listing the rusty patched bumble bee… for federal protection as an endangered species.
…[T]he rusty patched bumble bee is the first in the continental United States formally proposed for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
…[T]he rusty patched bumble bee… has plunged in abundance and distribution by more than 90 percent since the late 1990s, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.
The agency attributes the decline to a number of factors, including disease, pesticides, climate change and habitat loss.
Bumble bees… are essential pollinators of wildflowers and about a third of U.S. crops… said Sarina Jepsen of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, which petitioned the government for protection of the insect.
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Jepsen said protections proposed for the rusty patched bumble bee will intensify the debate over the degree to which so-called neonicotinoid pesticides, routinely used in agriculture and applied to plants and trees in gardens and parks, have contributed to the decline of native bees.
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The public comment period initiated by [the] proposed listing runs through Nov. 21, 2016, after which the agency could revise its proposal or finalize a decision.
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