PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A bumblebee that was commonly seen in this region 20 years ago, is on its way of becoming extinct. It’s the first time ever a bumblebee was put on the endangered species list.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put the Rusty Patched bumblebee on the list.
It’s scientific name is Bombus affinis and got its name by bee specialist E.T. Cresson in 1863.
The original specimen studied sits in the non-exhibited collections at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, where Dr. Jon Gelhaus is curator of entomology.
He said it’s not exactly clear what caused the decline, but one of the suspected reasons is pesticides.
“So these natural areas with native flowering plants and such, these need to have areas where they forage for plants where they are not going to be exposed to pesticides constantly.”
Another possibility is fungal pathogens.
Dr. Gelhaus said enjoy insects that come to your yard and think about using plants that attract pollinators and reduce pesticide use.