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!

Tagging Bumble Bees to Study Their Movements (HHMI Scientists At Work)

Graduate student Jeremy Hemberger designs an experiment to study the foraging behavior of bumble bees in different habitats.

Are some habitats better for bumble bees than others? Does it depend on the number or type of flowers that are available or some other factor? To answer these questions, Jeremy Hemberger, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, designed a system for measuring the length of bumble bees’ foraging trips. He attached radio frequency identification tags to several bumblebees in a colony and then set up an array of detectors in their nest to record the bees comings and goings.

Produced by Day's Edge Productions for HHMI BioInteractive
Music by New West Studios

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