Feds: Some bumblebees are endangered

Feds: Some bumblebees are endangered
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The Endangered Species List is buzzing.

The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) said Tuesday it will protect rusty patched bumblebees from threats posed by pesticides and climate change. By listing these bumblebees as endangered, the agency hopes to reverse a 90 percent population decline in recent years.

“All rusty patched bumble bees have entirely black heads, but only workers and males have a rusty reddish patch centrally located on the abdomen,” the FWS wrote in the Federal Register.

The bumblebee protections were praised by environmental groups that pointed to the role these creatures play in pollinating the nation’s food system.

Sarina Jepsen, director of endangered species at the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, called bumblebees “one of North America’s most imperiled species.”

“Bumblebees are dying off, vanishing from our farms, gardens and parks, where they were once found in great numbers,” said Rebecca Riley, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

“If bees go extinct, it’s simple: no bees, no food,” added Environment America.

The protections go into effect in 30 days.