Save America’s Wildlife

It’s time to list the American bumblebee as endangered

The American bumblebee is teetering on the brink of extinction.

Save the bees

U.S. Department of Agriculture via Flickr | Public Domain

On September 29, 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that endangered species protections “may be warranted” for the American bumble bee. 

The announcement was a first step and welcome news. The agency also announced that a 12-month finding would follow. Fast forward 16 months, and we’re still anxiously awaiting the next step. 

American bumblebees once lazily buzzed over backyards, fields and meadows across our country. But it’s teetering on the brink of extinction. The American bumblebee population has plummeted by 90% since the year 2000 due to the same factors that affect other key pollinators: habitat loss, climate change, and the widespread use of bee-killing pesticides.

Eight states — Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wyoming — have lost the American bumblebee entirely. The species has declined by 99% in New York and by more than 50% in the Midwest and the Southeast. 

The Endangered Species Act can protect this bee. It’s our best tool to prevent extinction, with a 99% success rate at saving protected species. This is the law that saved the bald eagle, the American crocodile and so many more. Note: the law turns 50 later this year. 

By listing the American bumblebee as endangered, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would be required to evaluate protected habitat and create a scientifically rigorous recovery plan — helping to create safe havens for these bumblebees and give them the protection they need to begin to thrive again. 

For this vulnerable bee, time is of the essence. We need the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to move quickly and protect this species. 

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