Over the last two decades, the American bumblebee population has dramatically declined, according to a recent petition from the Center for Biological Diversity and Bombus Pollinators Association of Law Students.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced it will spend the next year evaluating whether or not the species should become protected under the Endangered Species Act.
If listed, the American bumblebee will be the third U.S. bumblebee species to receive federal protection, joining the rusty patched bumblebee and Franklin's bumblebee.
University of Minnesota Extension Educator and Bee Researcher Elaine Evans is available to provide expert comment on the state of the species.
Elaine Evans, Ph.D.
“American bumblebee populations have been dwindling over the last 20 years, with fewer numbers seen and a reduction in their range. While the cause of their decline is not known, pathogens and climate change may play a role.”
“The American bumblebee has been shown to have higher pathogen loads than other bumblebee species that are not in decline. They have not been found in the northern parts of their former range. With climate change, northern areas in North America experience wider temperature fluctuations than areas farther south. This wider temperature fluctuation could cause stress that exceeds what American bumblebees can tolerate.”
Extension Educator | Elaine Evans