by Elizabeth Gamillo/Smithsonianmag.com
The American bumblebee (Bombus pensylvanicus)—once abundant and found lazily floating around in grasslands, open prairies, and some urban areas throughout the United States—now face a rapidly declining population.
According to a proposed rule released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the species’ population has dropped nearly 90 percent and could qualify for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Independent’s Graeme Massie reports. Despite dwindling population numbers, the American bumblebee is not protected in any state or by federal law.
American bumblebees are a vital pollinator for wildflowers and crops, and their decline could have severe consequences for the environment. The species has completely vanished from eight states, including Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Idaho, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Oregon, Ben Turner reports for Live Science. The bumblebee species have declined by 99 percent in New York. In the Midwest and Southeast, population numbers have dropped by more than 50 percent.