Target: Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior, U.S. Department of the Interior
Goal: List the rusty patched bumble bee as an endangered species
The rusty patched bumble bee population has diminished 87% in recent years and faces impending extinction. Despite an official request to protect this bee under the Endangered Species Act, governmental response has been absent. Protection for this pollinating species must be granted now.
The rusty patched bumble bee belongs to the same family as the honey bee but has a rusty patch of orange on its back, visible on the abdomen between its wings. This bee is a pollinator to many crops including apples, cranberries, peppers and tomatoes. Bumble bees have a special talent for getting the most out of their visits to flowers. Grasping the pollen producing section of a flower with their mandibles, the worker bee flexes its wing muscles to produce a buzzing sound. The resulting vibration causes pollen to be released that would otherwise be trapped. Some plants, such as peppers and tomatoes, need this type of pollination in order to thrive.
In addition to pesticides and habitat decline, the bumble bee risks contamination by disease and parasites carried by commercially-raised bees. The rusty patched bumble bee originally ranged throughout Southern Ontario and the Northeastern states, west to the Dakotas and south to Georgia. It is now missing from most of its original habitat. Within the past few years there have been very limited sightings within Maryland, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and in Canada only at Pinery Provincial Park on Lake Huron. Canada has already listed the rusty patched bumble bee on its endangered list. There is no doubt this population is in grave and immediate danger.
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation petitioned the Department of Interior to have the rusty patched bumble bee added as an endangered species and the request has gone ignored. Without protection of the Endangered Species Act, the few remaining pockets of this beneficial creature will undoubtedly go extinct in the foreseeable future; urge the Department of the Interior to protect this critical bee now.
Dear Ms. Jewell,
You must immediately take action and grant protection to the rusty patched bumble bee under the Endangered Species Act, as requested by The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
You must act at once as the rusty patched bumble bee is in severe danger from loss of habitat, pesticides, parasites and disease. This valued pollinator has dwindled to approximately 87% of its former existence. This species needs your help now, it cannot wait any longer. Without your protection, the rusty patched bumble bee will surely go extinct.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Christy Stewart 2012 via the The Xerces Society