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Federal plans to save bumblebee mismarks with endangered rusty patches, critics say | Chicago News

A bumblebee with an endangered rusty patch. (Courtesy of: US Fish and Wildlife Service)

4 years later Bumblebees with rusty patches on the Endangered Species List, NS U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces final recovery plan In the case of insects, planning critics say they manage to go too far and at the same time not enough.

Since the first evidence of the rapid decline of the rusty patched bumblebee (scientific name, Bombus affinis), it has been found in only 13% of the range inhabited in the 1990s, making honeybees a symbol of danger. .. Faced with pollen maters, including climate change and habitat loss.

Federal reconstruction plan — Not a regulatory document, but a roadmap detail on how to help species reach points that can be excluded from the list — addresses these issues in a broad sense, among other things. Recommended behaviors include minimizing the risk of illness and educating the general public on how the average person can make a difference (See sidebar below). Fish and Wildlife has fixed the recovery cost at $ 16 million (excluding expensive land acquisition) and estimates the delisting date to be 2061 “if well funded and implemented for all actions.” increase.

In a statement, Charlie Woolley, Director of Fish and Wildlife Areas on the Great Lakes, said, “Saving species from extinction is a group effort with partners from national conservation groups and institutions to communities and citizens. Cannot be done alone. ” .. “Together, we can prevent this important native pollen mater from escaping.”

The plan sounds like a wraparound all-hands-on-deck approach on paper, but lacks teeth, says environmental health director Lorient Bird. Biodiversity Center..

According to Bird, the focus on stopping littering rather than putting an end to fossil fuels was like the first Earth Day.

“Species that have existed for millions of years have fallen into a death spiral, which tells us that something is terribly wrong,” Bird said. “For me, the biggest thing that pops out is that there is one threat.”

She said the threat was pesticides.

“There are climate change, urbanization and extreme weather, but the first are non-fatal toxic habitats,” Bird said. “(Honeybees) need a non-toxic habitat. If the habitat is still toxic, none of this plan will work. Nothing can continue until the threat is addressed.”

The recovery plan guidance to “minimize exposure to harmful pesticides” is not approaching the complete ban required by conservationists, especially for the following chemical classes: Neonicotinoid..

Neonicotinoids are widely used in the treatment of crops and ornamental plants. They can be sprayed on the leaves or injected into the root zones or stems of the tree, but are used more often to coat the seeds. Chemicals were introduced in the 1990s.This is because many people, including Bird Link to the decline of pollen maters Bumblebees with rusty patches.

The European Union has banned some neonicotinoids, but the United States has allowed them to remain on the market while the EPA is investigating the effects of pesticides on endangered species.Draft biological assessment was recent Released by agency, Find some of the chemicals that “are likely to adversely affect a particular listed species or their designated important habitat.” Authorities will continue to accept public comments on the assessment until October 25th.

These results should have prompted more harsh words from fish and wildlife, and lost the opportunity to pick out pesticides, Bird said. The agency itself cannot enforce the ban, but it can use its soft power in other ways.

Fish and wildlife declare “I’m going to take this”, ensure that federal land is managed without pesticides, provide subsidies for growing organic crops, and all other means at your disposal. Can be pulled. USDA, outreach campaigns for state government agencies, etc.

“There are options to take political will,” Bird said.

Almost a year after the Biden administration, she said there were no signs of existence, saying that fish and wildlife still lacked “warning” supervision.

“There may have been better rhetoric, but we haven’t seen any significant modifications to the course yet,” Bird said. “If this administration wanted to turn around the pollen-breeding crisis, they could, but nothing makes us overly optimistic.”

Range of bumblebees with rusty patches. Gray historical range. It is now more likely and unlikely to be present in red, but it is important for protection in yellow. (Courtesy of: US Fish and Wildlife Service)Range of bumblebees with rusty patches. Gray historical range. It is now more likely and unlikely to be present in red, but it is important for protection in yellow. (Courtesy of: US Fish and Wildlife Service)

Bombus affinis is one of about 50 species of bumblebee native to North America. Its range spans 28 states from Maine to Dakotas, sloping south to the top of Geogia and north along the Canadian border.

Bombus affinis is a generalist and quite adaptable, as pollen maters go. It is not a favorite in that it does not require pristine habitat and, like some pollen maters, does not rely on a single flower to survive.

However, the University of Illinois entomologist Sydney Cameron Over 10 years ago, he led research on the condition of native bees., She discovered that Affinis is a species on the rope. Its presence is currently confined primarily to the pockets of Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota. Investigation result Cameron’s research eventually resulted in a list of endangered species, making Affinis the first bee to be designated in the Americas.

Her response to the recovery plan is complex. Cameron emphasizes that he is a scientist, not a conservationist or politician. She said some of the plans were good, especially when it comes to habitat management and conservation, but she feels that there are problems in others and lack of science.

Bombusaffinis files are thin, except for studies done in the 1930s that focused on bumblebee nests. “We’re talking about a very uneven study over the last 100 years,” she said.

What do we know about the historical pathogen load? She asked. Or when pollen affinis is collected, from which flower, where and when? What was your past reaction to pesticides?

Further investigation is needed before drawing conclusions and drawing a path to recovery.

Cameron agrees that neonicotinoids may be responsible for some of the causes of the rapid decline of bumblebees, but there are also well-documented pathogens to consider, Nosema BombiIts spread has been unintentionally helped by the transport of honeybees across countries by commercial pollen breeders. How did the two interactions between pathogens and pesticides affect Affinis in particular? Some bumblebees are still breeding under similar conditions.

“You can’t put the whole package together without knowing what’s important,” Cameron said. “Have it been studied?”

Her main quarrel with the recovery plan demanded control of the Affinis population by creating an “insurance” population in the laboratory and potentially reintroducing these bees into the eastern region of Affinis’ previous range. It is an action item to do.

Not only is this a difficult proposal, but “bumblebee breeding is an art, not a technique,” Cameron said. It is a dangerous proposal in that it requires the capture of the Queen.

“If you didn’t succeed, you sacrificed some of the few remaining queens,” she said. “It’s a ridiculous idea to try to play God.”

Retired Cameron believes in December that there will be entomologists doing the hard science needed to better understand what Affinis and its species need to survive. But like Bird, she wonders if policy makers will follow strict decisions about regulating the domestic bee industry and banning pesticides.

Not only bumblebees, but also too high a risk to act timidly.

“If we allow (Affini) to go extinct, the pattern will amplify itself,” Cameron said. “It’s one species, yes, and it doesn’t change the world, but when you put it all together, it starts to get scared.”

Try this at home

Seemingly counterintuitive, urban areas have more bee diversity than rural areas, where single-growing crops such as corn and soybeans dominate. Sidney Cameron, an insectologist at the University of Illinois, was a leader in encouraging the gardens of pollen-breeders of the species in which insects, such as the rust-covered bumblebee, need to breed, especially in Chicago.

Incorporating pollen-friendly plants, especially those that bloom at different times of the year, into the landscaping will help bumblebees with rusty patches. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)Incorporating pollen-friendly plants, especially those that bloom at different times of the year, into the landscaping will help bumblebees with rusty patches. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Here are five things people can do to help rusty patched bumblebees (and other native bees) in their yard:

— Plant native flowers or flowers labeled “pollen-breeder friendly” with a view to a mixture of species that bloom at different times of the year. This will maintain a stable food source for bumblebees.

— Leave the dandelions alone. Bumblebees with rusty patches eat dandelions in the spring before other flowers bloom.

— US Fish and Wildlife advises people to “conservatively” pesticides, using only when needed and only when instructed to do so. Cameron goes one step further, “Stop using pesticides. You don’t need a completely green lawn.”

— Maintain a “messy” lawn in the fall. The rusty patched bumblebee queen spends the winter on loose botanical material on the surface of the ground.

— Find the nest. The rusty patched bumblebee nest is underground, 1-4 feet below the surface.


Contact Patty Wetli: @pattywetli | (773) 509-5623 | [email protected]




Federal plans to save bumblebee mismarks with endangered rusty patches, critics say | Chicago News

Source link Federal plans to save bumblebee mismarks with endangered rusty patches, critics say | Chicago News

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