American bumblebee might make endangered list

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it might list the American bumblebee as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

A formal petition filed with the agency says the pollinator’s populations have dropped by nearly 90% in the past 20 years and the species is no longer seen in eight states: Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon and Wyoming 

The agency will assess the status of the American bumblebee over the next year, in response to the petition filed, in part, by the Center for Biological Diversity. The petition says habitat loss, pesticides, disease, climate change and competition from non-native honeybees are the reason for their decline.

It says American bumblebees have a wide diet and are essential for the continuation of wild plants and cultivated crops.

*Photo by USDA

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