Monday, April 4, 2022

Nature At Risk: Bee Kind - Three Ways You Can Help Rusty-Patched Bumble Bees Survive

Being a bee is no walk in the park.

Rusty-patched bumble bees are only about half an inch long. Yet they may fly up to a mile foraging for food. 

They need constant supplies of nectar and pollen from many different kinds of flowers, starting in spring right through fall. And they nest in the ground, exposed to pesticides and other chemicals that can hurt or kill them.

Is it any wonder that once humans carved up their habitat, the rusty-patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) became endangered?

Formerly found all across eastern and upper midwest North America, including here in Pennsylvania, the bees inhabited prairies and grasslands and other natural landscapes. 

As humans remade that habitat, planted intensive monocultures of just one flowering crop, and built roads and cities, today the tiny creatures’ range has shrunk to about 15 percent of what it once was.

And that’s bad not just for the bees, but also for us.

Bumble bees are a “keystone species” — critters that play a crucial, irreplaceable role in their habitat. 

Bumble bees are almost the only insects that pollinate tomatoes, and they’re among the most important pollinators of blueberries and cranberries. 

Their busy work creates fruits and seeds needed by everything from songbirds to bears, not to mention humans.

You can help:

-- Make sure your landscape has native plants flowering from April through September — add a shadbush, butterfly weed, or autumn goldenrod, for example. Find native plants to buy at the Brodhead Native Plant Sale in Monroe County.

-- Leave a healthy-sized area undisturbed — let clumps of grasses grow, don’t till or otherwise work the soil, and if you find a nest, count your blessings and let it be!

-- And lay off the pesticides and chemical fertilizers, or at least minimize them.

This article is part of the Nature at Risk is a series published by Brodhead Watershed Association.

For more information on programs, initiatives and other upcoming events, visit the Brodhead Watershed Association website or Follow them on FacebookClick Here to sign up for regular updates from the Association.  Click Here to become a member.

Resource Links:

-- Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Fact Sheet 

-- BeeLab Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Webpage

Related Article - Nature At Risk:

-- ​​Nature At Risk: How Important Can A Tiny Bird Be?

Related Article - Clean Water Is Up To You:

-- Clean Water Is Up To You: Are You Wasting Perfectly Good Waste?

-- Clean Water Is Up To You: Creating Native Habitat In A Postage-Stamp Garden

Related Articles:

-- Pollinator Gardens: Help Encourage Ecological Diversity In Your Own Backyard [Videos]

-- Manada Conservancy In Dauphin County Offers Pollinator/Native Plant Landscape Design Service [Recommended]

-- Senate Hearing: Non-Native, Invasive Plant Species Ecologically Castrating The Landscape, But There Is A Solution

-- Feature: Recognizing The Value Of Native Plants For Pollinators - Dr. Doug Tallamy

-- Agriculture, Penn State Release PA Pollinator Protection Plan Recommendations

-- Pollinator Population Is Going Down In PA Due To Pesticides, Parasites And Pathogens

-- Penn State Extension: Planting Pollinator-Friendly Gardens

--  PennDOT Launches New Pollinator Habitat Plan; Adopt And Beautify For Pollinators Program For Citizens Who Want To Help

[Posted: April 4, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner