CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A University of North Carolina at Charlotte Biology Professor is raising concern over a bumble bee now placed on the endangered species list.
The rusty-patched bumblebee has seen a dramatic population decline over the past 20 years according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Since the 1990s, the number of rusty-patched bumblebees have dropped by nearly 90 percent.
"It's not surprising. We are losing pollinators in general worldwide through habitat destruction, overuse of pesticides, a variety of diseases," said Dr. Stan Schneider, a biology professor and leading bee expert in the Charlotte area.
"And this is a real concern. The insects that pollinate plants are necessary for maintaining agriculture, as well as ecosystems."
Dr. Schneider says people can help by starting a garden with native plants, minimize the use of pesticides, and simply try not to swat bumblebees.
"Even growing flowering plants in pots can help increase the abundance and diversity of the population. There actually is a great deal that people can do."
By placing the rusty-patched bumblebee on the list, government officials can mobilize partners and focus resources to help find ways to stop the decline.