For the first time ever, a bee species has been put on the endangered species list by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
That’s right, the rusty patched bumblebee is officially an endangered species.
What does this mean? Well, over the last few decades there has been a dramatic decrease in this particular bee species’ population across the United States. There are a variety of contributing factors to the declination of this species, but a few of the biggest culprits are habitat loss and pesticides.
As most of us know, bees are pretty vital to many of our food sources. Bees are pollinators that help fertilize many of the crops we love to eat, and without them a lot of our favorite fruits and veggies could very well die off.
So, what can we do about the drastic reduction in our bee population?
Here are a few ideas:
If you have a garden, make sure it’s a pesticide-free space that will encourage bees and other beneficial insects to hang out there.
When you’re purchasing produce, look for pesticide-free options. You can also ask your local plant nursery to be sure any new flowers or plants you’re buying haven’t been treated with pesticides.
Protect bee habitats whenever you can. During the winter months, they like to hole up just below the ground’s surface. You can protect those habitats by waiting to rake or do any work to your lawn until a little later in the spring (late April or early May).
Get a little lazy with your lawn. Many plants that we consider weeds, such as wildflowers and dandelions, are actually fantastic havens for bees and other pollinators. You don’t have to completely neglect your lawn, but maybe don’t stress so much about getting rid of every last weed you notice.
For more information about the bumblebee population and what you can do to help the cause, here are some more resources: