Vermont Atlas of Life Map of the Week: Rusty-patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis)

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Rusty-patched Bumble BeeAs recently as the 1990s the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee was a relatively common bee in Vermont. They were probably found in every town of Vermont. The Vermont Bumble Bee Survey, a project of the Vermont Atlas of Life, assembled over 2,500 bumble bee records from 1915 to 2011 from over 25 insect collections and this was the 6th most common species of 17 known species in Vermont and was collected in 38 towns scattered across the state. The earliest known record for Vermont was a specimen in the UVM Zadock Thompson Invertebrate Collection from September 13, 1928 in Bolton. Collection data show that entomology students at UVM, assigned to assemble a general insect collect each year, regularly found the species from the 1960s through the 1990s in the Burlington area. But, the last known record for Vermont was a drone collected on August 31, 1999 in the Intervale in Burlington. In 2012 and 2013 the Vermont Bumble Bee Survey visited over 1,500 sites throughout the state, many of these multiple times, yielding over 10,000 bumble bee records. None were found. One of the formerly most common bumble bees of fields, farms, and gardens declined drastically across Vermont in the span of a decade or less and now is so rare across its range in North America that it is under consideration for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

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Comments (1)

  1. Gretchen says:

    It is sad to hear of this drastic, rapid decline.

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