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!

Forgotten But Not Gone: The Rusty Patched Bumble Bee

In the United States, there are hundreds of species of plants and animals that are at high risk of extinction, but have no federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. They are "Forgotten, But Not Gone."

One of these species is the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis). This bee has declined more than 90% across its range in the northeastern and midwestern U.S. A combination of habitat loss, agricultural pesticides, and diseases borne by managed commercial bumble bees is likely to blame. Luckily, in late 2016 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed that this species be listed as an Endangered Species, bringing it one step closer to protection. In March 2017, it became the first North American bee species to to be listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Powered by Vimeo Pro