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Minneapolis St. Paul News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | Minneapolis, Minnesota | kare11.com

Sven Explains: The Rusty Patched Bumble bee

Just this year the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee was named Minnesota's state bee, but it's critically endangered.

Just this year the Rusty Patch Bumble Bee was named Minnesota's state bee, but it's critically endangered. Sven Sundgaard talked with Jill Utrup of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge:

"Yes, we have many species of bumble bees!

We have a really great opportunity in the Twin Cities to help a critically endangered bumble bee- the rusty patch bumble bee, which also happens to be our state bee . We think they could be impacted by pesticides but they’re hanging on in the Twin Cities.

If you put in a pocket prairie, a tiny spot in your yard maybe a spot in your garden that’s not doing well, planting some native wild flowers & grasses.

Leave some leaf piles, bare ground- we’re finding these bees. It’s pretty amazing.

Credit: KARE 11

The rusty patch bumble bee queens are the first to emerge in the spring & they’re out late into the fall. They really need a steady stream of blooming flowers. If people want some ideas on what a pollinator garden could look like in their yard they can come out to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington, there’s lots of pollinator gardens by the visitor center & native habitat throughout. "

You can also help by getting involved with the U of M's extension service citizen science projects to identify and count rusty patch bees in addition to planting year-round native flowers. Information like these are available through the U of M & the National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington.

Click here for more from the Fish & Wildlife Service on the Rusty Patch Bumble Bee