Good News from the DWR Bumble Bee Survey

Photo: Ellison Orcutt/ DCR Natural Heritage Program
A Rusty Patched Bumble Bee observed at Highland WMA.

On August 5, Region 4 DWR staff (Dept. of Wildlife Resources) and a DCR field zoologist (Dept. of Conservation and Recreation) conducted a Bumble bee survey on the Highland WMA (Wildlife Management Area).

While surveying a proposed Restore the Wild Pollinator fields, the DWR staff and DCR zoologist spotted 11 Rusty Patched Bumble bees (Bombus affinis) over a three day period. The fields that the Rusty Patched Bumble bees were spotted in are managed with prescribed fire to foster native wildflowers. Other species spotted included the Common Eastern Bumble bee, the Two Spotted Bumble bee, and the Brown Belted Bumble bee. 

Regarding the Rusty Patched Bumble bee, it is very rare and considered endangered. The following is its Conservation Status:

  • Federally Endangered in the U.S.
  • Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List
  • Species of Greatest Conservation Need-Tier 1a on the Virginia Wildlife Action Plan
  • Listed as Endangered under the Species at Risk Act in Canada
  • Ranked as a G2S1 species (globally imperiled and critically imperiled in Virginia) by Virginia DCR’s Natural Heritage Program

Jason Hallacher, Chapter Advisor