Underutilized baseball diamond serves as foundation for endangered bee habitat

Image of man sitting on bench near field.

(OurQuadCities.com) Ross Smith earned his master’s degree in recreation, park and tourism administration in 2018. For his final project, Smith transformed two underutilized baseball diamonds in Hampton into a prairie area for Rock Island County Forest Preserve District. The Illiniwek Forest Preserve Project was created through this process and, in mid-August, the site became one of just a few nationwide to boast sightings of the endangered rusty patched bumble bee.

Agreement reached to protect endangered rusty patched bumble bee at Minnetonka’s Lone Lake Park

Image of rusty patched bumble bee on white flowers.

(Center for Biological Diversity) The Center for Biological Diversity and the city of Minnetonka have reached an agreement to protect the endangered rusty patched bumble bee at Lone Lake Park, the site of a planned multi-use mountain-bike trail. Under the agreement, the city will implement numerous conservation measures, including creation of habitat for the bees and other pollinators.

Agency denies critical habitat for endangered rusty patched bumble bee

Image of rusty patched bumble bee on flower.

(AP) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it would not designate critical habitat for the first bee species in the continental U.S. to be listed as endangered, a move that environmentalists said would worsen its chances for recovery. The agency said it had determined the rusty patched bumble bee could survive without having specific areas managed for its protection, even though its population has plummeted 90% in the past couple of decades.

Endangered rusty patched bumble bees spotted at Illinois forest preserve

Image of rusty patched bumble bee.

(Quad City Times) A park ranger at Illiniwek Forest Preserve spotted an endangered rusty patched bumble bee in the preserve. The sighting was confirmed by an assistant professor of biology at Black Hawk College. “This is the best possible indicator that the prairie restorations the Forest Preserve District has been working on are paying off. Finding this new sighting is really important in our efforts of staving off the extinction of this species.”

Lawsuit launched to protect Minnesota’s endangered rusty patched bumble bee

Image of rusty patched bumble bee on flower.

(Center for Biological Diversity) The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice today of its intent to sue the city of Minnetonka, Minnesota, for failing to protect endangered rusty patched bumble bees from a planned mountain-bike course in Lone Lake Park, home to one of the largest populations of the bee in the state. “The Endangered Species Act is 99% effective at protecting our most imperiled wildlife, but it can only work when its mandates are followed.”

Rusty patched bumble bee found at Iowa nature center

The actual image of the rusty patched bumble bee taken by Amy Loving.

(Quad-City Times) Amy Loving was working at Davenport’s Nahant Marsh Education Center, taking photos of bees and other insects buzzing around the building in preparation for an upcoming program. Spotting a bee in some white clover, she crouched down to get a shot. Back inside the center some time later, she was scrolling through her images when suddenly she felt her heart begin to race. One of her pictures showed a bee with a rusty patch in its yellow backside.

Thousands of homeowners apply for Minnesota funding to turn lawns into bee-friendly habitats

Image of bumble bee approaching flower.

(Star Tribune) The state’s Board of Water and Soil Resources will select the first 500 or so homeowners this week to receive funding under the trial program, which will pay residents up to $350 to plant pollinator gardens or convert their traditional grass lawns to more bee-friendly yards. Interest has been high enough that the state will keep accepting applications online until early June. “We knew there were going to be a lot of applications for this, but we didn’t know we were going to get close to 6,000 of them in just this first round.”

A new method for surveying bumble bees alongside Minnesota roadways

Image of road worker collecting bees.

(Crossroads) Entomologists working in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Transportation have produced a rigorous method for characterizing bumble bee populations and distribution in roadside environments. Their results indicate that roadside greenways offer potential to support a species-rich community of foraging bumble bees – including the rusty-patched bumble bee.