Rusty Patched Bumblebee, Found In Illinois, May Become Endangered Species

(CBS) — Tigers, lemurs, gorillas–certain types of these animals are on the endangered species list.

But soon, a bumblebee found in Illinois, could make the list, as well, CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey reports.

Whether we see them or not, bees are all around. But thanks to an increase in pesticides and habitat loss, the bee population has decreased over the years.

The rusty patched bumblebee seems to be doing particularly badly.

And now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes putting the rusty patched bumblebee on the endangered species list.

It’s an insect important to growing fruits and vegetables, and it’s found in Illinois.

“It’s been said that every third bite of food you eat, a pollinator is responsible for that,” said Doug Taron of the Chicago Academy of Sciences. “Do you like cherries? Do you like apples? Do you like pears? All of these are fruits that are pollinated by bees. No bees. No fruit.”

And that means the costs of all those items could increase.

Jana Kinsman, who removed a swarm of bees from a pole in the loop over the summer, is particularly concerned about the rusty patched bumblebee.

“They grab on to the flower and they vibrate at a certain frequency that makes the flower release its pollen. Honeybees can’t do that.”

“Think of peppers potatoes tomatoes. Without bumble bees, we would not have any of those.”

The rusty patched bumblebee is small animal with a big effect on food as we know it.

Currently, it’s only a proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to add the rusty patched bumblebee to the Endangered Species List.

Still, the experts CBS 2 talked to say they hope this is just the beginning of people starting to pay attention to bees.


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