Rusty Patched Bumble Bee at Center on Thursday, August 10, 2017.
Schlitz Audubon recently confirmed multiple Rusty Patched Bumble Bees (Bombus affinis) on our property. This bee is the only Federally Endangered Species (effective March 21, 2017) within Milwaukee County and is listed as a Species of Special Concern in Wisconsin. Center staff has been in contact with the US fish and Wildlife Service, and we are developing a plan to improve habitat for this endangered species.
According to the Wisconsin DNR, “This bee relies on diverse and abundant flowering plant species in proximity to suitable overwintering sites for hibernating queens. Overwintering habitat includes but is not limited to non-compacted and often sandy soils or woodlands but does not include wetlands. Suitable active season habitat includes but is not limited to prairies, woodlands, marshes/wetlands, agricultural landscapes and residential parks and gardens.”
Finding this species is a testament to the importance of conservation and the success our ongoing efforts to conserve and restore habitat for native and migratory populations of greatest conservation need. Due to the vulnerability of the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee, at this time the Center is not publishing the locations of sightings. If you observe RPBB at Schlitz Audubon, please pass along the location of your sighting to the Center’s Director of Conservation at 414-352-2880 x244. As always, we ask that you remain on trail and respect our trail guidelines to prevent disturbance of this highly vulnerable species.
For more information about the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee, visit Wisconsin DNR.
Every day, volunteer land stewards work to improve habitat across the Center’s 185 acres. Learn how you can help vulnerable species by volunteering with our land stewardship team.