Rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis)

Federal Register | Recovery | Critical Habitat | Conservation Plans | Petitions | Life History

Listing Status:   


General Information

Historically, the rusty patched bumble bee was broadly distributed across the eastern United States, Upper Midwest, and southern Quebec and Ontario in Canada. Since 2000, this bumble bee has been reported from only 13 states and 1 Canadian province: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada.

Rusty patched bumble bees live in colonies that include a single queen and female workers. The colony produces males and new queens in late summer. Queens are the largest bees in the colony, and workers are the smallest. All rusty patched bumble bees have entirely black heads, but only workers and males have a rusty reddish patch centrally located on the back.

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Current Listing Status Summary
Status Date Listed Lead Region Where Listed
2017-02-10 Great Lakes-Big Rivers Region (Region 3) Wherever found

» Federal Register Documents

Federal Register Documents
Date Citation Page Title
2015-09-18 00:00:00.0 80 FR 56423 56432 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Findings on 25 Petitions
2016-09-22 00:00:00.0 81 FR 65324 65334 Endangered Species Status for Rusty Patched Bumble Bee; Proposed rule.
2017-01-11 00:00:00.0 82 FR 3186 3209 Endangered Species Status for Rusty Patched Bumble Bee; Final rule.
2017-02-10 00:00:00.0 82 FR 10285 10286 Endangered Species Status for Rusty Patched Bumble Bee; Final rule; delay of effective date.

» Recovery

No recovery information is available for the Rusty patched bumble bee.

» Critical Habitat

No critical habitat rules have been published for the Rusty patched bumble bee.

» Conservation Plans

No conservation plans have been created for Rusty patched bumble bee.

» Petitions

» Life History

Habitat Requirements

Rusty patched bumble bees once occupied grasslands and tallgrass prairies of the Upper Midwest and Northeast, but most grasslands and prairies have been lost, degraded, or fragmented by conversion to other uses. Bumble bees need areas that provide nectar and pollen from flowers, nesting sites (underground and abandoned rodent cavities or clumps of grasses), and overwintering sites for hibernating queens (undisturbed soil).

Food Habits

Bumble bees gather pollen and nectar from a variety of flowering plants. The rusty patched emerges early in spring and is one of the last species to go into hibernation. It needs a constant supply and diversity of flowers blooming throughout the colony's long life, April through September.

Reproductive Strategy

Rusty patched bumble bee colonies have an annual cycle. In spring, solitary queens emerge and find nest sites, collect nectar and pollen from flowers and begin laying eggs, which are fertilized by sperm stored since mating the previous fall. Workers hatch from these first eggs and colonies grow as workers collect food, defend the colony, and care for young. Queens remain within the nests and continue laying eggs. In late summer, new queens and males also hatch from eggs. Males disperse to mate with new queens from other colonies. In fall, founding queens, workers and males die. Only new queens go into diapause (a form of hibernation) over winter - and the cycle begins again in spring.

» Other Resources

NatureServe Explorer Species Reports -- NatureServe Explorer is a source for authoritative conservation information on more than 50,000 plants, animals and ecological communtities of the U.S and Canada. NatureServe Explorer provides in-depth information on rare and endangered species, but includes common plants and animals too. NatureServe Explorer is a product of NatureServe in collaboration with the Natural Heritage Network.

ITIS Reports -- ITIS (the Integrated Taxonomic Information System) is a source for authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.

FWS Digital Media Library -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library is a searchable collection of selected images, historical artifacts, audio clips, publications, and video.