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The US Fish and Wildlife Service contacted Beaver Island with a request to be on the look out for a rusty-patched bumble bee which is listed as an endangered species. It was last seen in Michigan in 2006. Rusty-patched bumble bees are active May through November. Where the species remains elsewhere is often in natural areas within an urban/suburban settings–essentially natural habitat islands, isolated from other natural areas. They are associated with Milkweed and other native flowering plants. Disease is one suspect for the decline of the species, so perhaps isolation whether man-made or natural might be important. Great Lakes islands may be the last refuge to find a rusty-patched bumble bee thus the agency is asking for your observations. Below is a link to a bumble bee watch program for those who are interested to help find rare bumble bees in Michigan. It would be wonderful to have more eyes looking for bumble bees and submitting photos.

Rusty-patched bumble bee on culver’s-root at UW–Madison Arboretum. Photo: Susan Day/UW–Madison Arboretum

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