Three Rivers Park District Monitors State Bee
The rusty patched bumblebee is on the federally protected species list. It also happens to be Minnesota’s state bee, which is why scientists at the Three Rivers Park District have been surveying its parks for the important insect.
“Some of the bee’s last known range is here in the Twin Cities,” says Angela Grill, a wildlife biologist with Three Rivers Park District.
Three Rivers Parks Home to Rusty Patched Bumblebee
The Three Rivers Park District has confirmed that eight of their parks have populations of the rusty patched bumblebee.
“We survey to document diversity, abundance and diversity of bumblebees,” said Grill. “We see if we are seeing the same diversity or if there is a decline or increase in any of the species of bees.”
The scientists survey two different sites and capture 200 bees per site at two different times of the day. Scientists say there are three major factors driving down native bee populations: habitat loss, pesticide use and disease. If numbers continue to dwindle, it could have a major impact on the ecosystem.
“One third of our crop production is pollinated thanks to bees,” says Grill. “If bees keep declining that can mean food loss. With one species of bee declining, maybe not but if one species is declining it’s likely an indicator that there’s something going on with the other species. “
Scientists at Three Rivers Park District say there are specific species of plants you can add to your back yard to help create more habitat for the pollinators. They refer people to University of Minnesota’s Bee Lab website. There are lists of pollinator friendly plants and flowers. Also, if you would like survey for bee’s yourself you can visit the Minnesota Bumble Bee survey Facebook page.
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