Small but oh-so-important! Why declining populations in bees is a scary thing –
Honeybees get a lot of attention for their worrisome decline, but many species of bumblebees—which are key pollinators—are also in trouble.
In Michigan, half of its bumblebee species have declined by 50 percent or more, Michigan Radio reported.”Of those twelve species, about half of them have declined and the other half are stable,” Thomas Wood, a post-doctoral research associate at Michigan State University, told the radio station.
Of the six species that have declined, their numbers dropped by more than 50 percent, Wood added. One species, the rusty patched bumblebee, has even gone extinct in Michigan.
In 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service classified the rusty patched bumblebee as an endangered species, the first bumblebee in the country and the first wild bee of any kind in the continental U.S. to receive Endangered Species Act protection.
The bee, identified by its reddish abdomen, was once common and abundant across 28 states from Connecticut to South Dakota, the District of Columbia and two Canadian provinces, but its population plummeted by 87 percent since the late 1990s.