The rusty patched bumble bee population has declined dramatically over the years, but there’s an effort to turn the numbers around. Keith White Prairie is a place on UW-Green Bay campus, where bumble bees swarm flowers known as bee balm. There are around 20 bee species that are native to the state of Wisconsin, but the decline of the rusty-patched is a concern to scientists.
“I think all bee ecologists are worried about the rusty patched. Again, this was a species that was once very common,” UW-Green Bay Biology Chair Amy Wolf explains to Fox 11. Experts say the causes of decline in population are extreme weather, loss of habitat and pesticides. Alumnus and DNR Conservation Biologist Jay Watson ’09 believes a disease is to blame for the crash. “It’s pretty alarming because the rusty patched bumble bee, I don’t think it’s alone. It’s not an isolated incident,” said alumna and U.S Fish & Wildlife Service Biologist Reena Bowman ’17.