Rusty Patched Bumblebees Declared Endangered

Did you know that declining wild bee populations are an indication of potentially serious environmental problems? According to Live Science, a certain species of bumblebee was recently declared an endangered species – and it isn’t the first bee to be on the verge of extinction. The U.S. Endangered Species Act now recognizes the rusty patched bumblebee as an endangered species, and so now protects this rare type of bee. But are all bees facing the same fate?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency have conducted research and issued a report on honey bee health. Their conclusion is captured in the executive summary:

“Despite a remarkably intensive level of research effort towards understanding causes of managed honeybee colony losses in the United States, overall losses continue to be high and pose a serious threat to meeting the pollination service demands for several commercial crops.”

Our tax-payer funded investment into the health of commercial bees continues in 2016, as the USDA reports, with the focus again on farm productivity as it relates to the bees ability to make more food for humans. Even so, pollinating bees are continuing to struggle. The USDA reports that in 2015, beekeepers cited losses of about 40 percent of their honey bee colonies, threatening the viability of their operations and drastically diminishing the capabilities of bees to perform the pollination duties needed to sustain and grow agriculture around the nation.

But what about commercial honey bees that produce honey? Commercial pollinator bees do not actually produce honey – instead, they consume it. It is only after their pollination work is complete that they are returned to their native home flowers to stock up on honey reserves.

Much of the honey produced for human consumption is made from local flora worldwide. Losses for bees kept for honey production and not used for commercial pollination are very normal.

At Honey Solutions, we manage our 10,000 hives locally and do not send our bees to commercially pollinate. We do not experience the losses of bees and hives described in media articles, however. We do experience some mite issues with our bees from pollinators that winter their bees in Texas, which contaminate local flowers with the mites because their bees are not controlled or cared for. This is a growing concern, and many states around the nation are beginning to monitor the overwinter practices of pollinators to protect local beekeepers.

Hopefully now that the word is getting out about this unique bumblebee and its declining population, we can stop it before it’s too late and the species becomes extinct. While it’s true that there are many other species of bees, the net disappearance of any bee species needs to viewed as a barometer of overall bee health. We need all the different kinds of bees that we can get, as they play a huge role and are an integral part of the plant growth and reproduction cycle.

For more info on Honey Solutions, and to learn how Honey Solutions can supply you with delicious, natural honey for your operation, call us today at 281-576-1700.