119,662 Americans: Give Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Endangered Status

Media Releases

Environment America

Expert contacts:

Tiffany Finck-Haynes, Friends of the Earth, 202-222-0715, [email protected]                                           

Christy Leavitt, Environment America, 202-683-1250 x313, [email protected]                                           


Communications contacts: 

Kate Colwell, Friends of the Earth, 202-222-0744, [email protected]                                                                                      

Anusha Narayanan, Environment America, 847-338-1503, [email protected]

Washington, D.C.— As the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers granting Endangered Species Act protection to the rusty patched bumble bee, groups are taking the fight to their front door. Friends of the Earth, Environment America, Environmental Action and the Sierra Club are delivering petitions to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife headquarters today signed by 119,662 people urging the agency to enact immediate protections for the bee.  The agency is accepting comments on the listing until Nov. 21.

Rusty patched bumble bees pollinate everything from cranberries and blueberries to squash and clover, but they are dying quickly. Studies indicate they have disappeared from 87 percent of their historic range and by as much as 95 percent in recent decades.

The organizations submitting petitions note that these species are declining due to a variety of factors including habitat loss, climate change, parasites, diseases and pesticide use. Canada listed the rusty patched bumble bee as endangered five years ago while Vermont did so last year.

“Forty percent of invertebrate pollinator species are on the brink of extinction and the rusty patched bumble bee is one that we have the power to protect now,” said Tiffany Finck-Haynes, Friends of the Earth Food Futures campaigner.  “We call on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect rusty patched bumble bees across state borders with varying pesticide regulations by giving it endangered species status nationwide.”

“Protecting the rusty patched bumble bee and all bees is essential to the ecosystem and our food supply,” said Christy Leavitt of Environment America. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should move swiftly and boldly to protect the rusty patched bumble bee as an engendered species. If bees disappear, it’s simple: no bees, no food.”

“Honey bees deserve the attention they’ve received, but wild bees are struggling too,” said Alexander Rony, Senior Digital Innovation Campaigner at Sierra Club. “The rusty patched bumble bee is an excellent pollinator – starting early and ending late, hitting many different types of crops. Our survival depends on theirs: without bees, we lose our food staples.”


Friends of the Earth fights to create a more healthy and just world. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

Environment America is an environmental advocacy organization working in 29 states to build a cleaner, greener, healthier future.

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.