Rusty patched bumblebee named first endangered bee species in country

Cucahy, WI Aug. 13, 2013

Cucahy, WI Aug. 13, 2013

A bumblebee species that has been seen in Michigan, though not indigenous to the state, has been named the first ever endangered bee in the country.

Rusty patched bumblebees are now on the endangered list.

The Center of Michigan Beekeepers said bee populations around the state have been declining for 30 years due to a number of factors.

Mike Risk is a beekeeper, and the president of the organization.

“Even 10, 15 years ago they were worried about the lack of populations,and they said there has been a, at that point there was a 30 percent decline, and it has really progressed in the last 10, 15 years, it just seems to be snowballing and getting worse.”

Risk said the decline is a result of a number of factors.

“It’s probably a result of the change in farming practices, lack of diversity, large farm fields with very little forage on each edge.”

Risk said planting bee-friendly vegetation – like fruits and vegetables can help bee populations survive.