Happy in the Arb, Endangered in the World

A rusty-patched bumblebee on Culver’s root in the UW–Madison Arboretum. The Arboretum’s prairies, woodlands and gardens are a paradise for the rusty-patched and at least a dozen other bumblebee species. PHOTO: SUSAN DAY/UW–MADISON ARBORETUM

A rusty-patched bumblebee on Culver’s root in the UW–Madison Arboretum. The Arboretum’s prairies, woodlands and gardens are a paradise for the rusty-patched and at least a dozen other bumblebee species. PHOTO: SUSAN DAY/UW–MADISON ARBORETUM

“This winter may now feel a shade lonelier for a handful of bumble bee princesses tucked away underground in the University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum, but they will probably wake up in the spring to a larger group of human admirers.

“This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared rusty-patched bumble bees endangered, making them the first bumble bee tagged with that inauspicious designation.

“’It’s been a long time in the process, though the biological and population data were clear enough,’ says Susan Carpenter, native plant gardener at the Arboretum. ‘There was never any sign that it was going to come out differently.’

“The Arboretum is a bright data point in the rusty-patched bumble bees’ future.”

Read the full UWMadScience story by Chris Barncard, January 13, 2017.

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