5 ways you can help endangered pollinator populations

The Rusty Patched Bumblebee was recently added to the endangered species list. Photo courtesy Steve Evans.

It may be difficult to look at a black and yellow insect with a stinger and not think, “Yikes! Get that stinging thing away from me!” However, the fuzzy variety of yellow and black insects, the honeybee and bumblebee, are not likely to cause you any harm.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service recently designated the Rusty Patched Bumblebee an endangered species, a first for bee species in the United States. Their status will go into effect on Feb. 10, as will their new federal protections and recovery plan.  

The bumblebee population has struggled in recent years, mainly due to habitat loss caused by the mowing and development of grasslands and prairies. In order to prevent the increase of bee and other pollinator species on the endangered species list, we must be proactive.  

Luckily, there are five ways you can help, which include:

  • Seeding a patch of land with wildflower seeds and leaving it un-mowed
  • Planting native flowering plants, bushes and trees in your yard
  • Leaving active bee nesting sites alone
  • Reducing use of pesticides in your gardening and landscaping
  • Becoming a beekeeper 

Pollinators such as bumble bees and honey bees are necessary to pollinate most of the crops that we use for food. Without them, the types and amounts of food available would be greatly reduced. By following some of the five suggestions listed above, you can do your part in preventing the increase of endangered pollinator populations.

For more information about pollinators and beekeeping, contact Lake Erie Nature & Science Center at 440-871-2900, ext. 204, to speak with our expert wildlife staff.

Morgan Paskert

Morgan Paskert is on staff at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center.

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 9:40 AM, 01.24.2017