Rusty-patched Bumble Bee

In 2015 we embarked on a project to tell the story of the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis), a rare North American native bee that had been petitioned for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Our work was first sponsored by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation and Endangered Species Chocolate. Through a variety of partnerships, we were able to expand the project to include two classroom videos about bumble bee science (with HHMI), a short web film for the California Academy of Sciences, and a short film with the Highlands Biological Station. Our films helped the Xerces Society gather 128,000 public signatures on a petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list Bombus affinis as an Endangered species. The agency officially proposed the bee for Endangered status in September of 2016!

A Ghost In The Making: Searching for the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee

TAKE ACTION to save the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee: chn.ge/28QVIZn

Everyone has heard about bee declines, but with so much attention focused on domesticated honeybees, someone has to speak up for the 4,000 species of native bees in North America. Natural history photographer Clay Bolt is on a multi-year quest to tell the stories of our native bees, and one elusive species – the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee – has become his ‘white whale.’

Traveling from state to state in search of the Rusty-patched, he meets the scientists and conservationists working tirelessly to preserve it. Clay’s journey finally brings him to Wisconsin, where he comes face to face with his fuzzy quarry and discovers an answer to the question that has been nagging him all along: why save a species?

A film by Day's Edge Productions, produced in partnership with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation and Endangered Species Chocolate. With music by Dan Warren, New West Studios, and Cloud Cult.

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