The Rusty Patched Bumble Bee (Bomus affinis), a federally endangered bee, was found at Nahant Marsh on the morning of July 6. This is the only species of bee that is listed as an endangered species and was documented in a photograph taken by Amy Loving, Director of Education at Nahant Marsh. The observation was confirmed by regional US Fish and Wildlife biologists. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation filed a petition in 2013 “to list the rusty patched bumble bee as an endangered species under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) finalized the ruling and gave the rusty patched bumble bee endangered status under the ESA in January of 2017.”
The Rusty Patched Bumble Bee was once commonly found in its distribution area, which includes “along the east coast of the United States from southern Maine south through Georgia with an extension west along the northern states through Minnesota.” Threats like fragmented and decreased habitat, commercial rearing, herbicides, and insecticides are causing the decline of not only the rusty patched bumble bee, but other pollinators across the board. This is the first confirmed sighting of the rare bee in Scott County.
Nahant Marsh says they will continue the work to restore and enhance the biodiversity in their prairies and woodlands, which is critical habitat for the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee and other similar species. In addition, Nahant Marsh will be creating more prairie, wetlands, and woodlands on 20 acres of retired farmland. Nahant Marsh is receiving guidance from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that their natural resource management practices will benefit the recovery of this rare species.