Federated Garden        Clubs of          Minnesota, Inc.

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BeeGap Program


                    National Garden Clubs, Inc. announces a partnership with Crown Bees
                    to increase native bee awareness, and encourage gardeners to add
                    gentle, rarely stinging mason bees for food and flower pollination.
                    Creating edible landscapes and bee-safe habitats in backyards can 
                    help save the food supply threatened by declining honey bee pollinators.

BeeGap Program Information

                    Taking action to support our native pollinators is as simple as being informed. 
                    Please consider contacting Rene' Lynch who is a member of the NGC Bee Gap 
                    Speakers Bureau. She would be happy to share her updated bee program for
                    your club meeting or as a presentation your club might sponsor at a community
                    event.    Contact Rene' at reneclynch@aol.com

                    Be informed and spread the word. There are many things we can do to make
                    a difference.

The Buzzz

By Rene’ Lynch, FGCM BeeGap Chairman

June 2017

How Gardeners Can Help the First Endangered U.S. Bee Species

Being informed is a crucial component of ‘taking action’. The Rusty Patched Bumble-bee (Bombus affinis) was officially designated as an endangered species. It will now receive federal protection under the Endangered Species Act in hopes of preventing its extinction.

“The significance of the listing is enormous,” says Rich Hatfield, senior endangered species conservation biologist at the Xerces Society. “It is an acknowledgement from the Fish and Wildlife Service that this species has indeed undergone significant precipi-tous decline, and is deserving of federal action to protect it from extinction.”

While these bees will now receive federal protection to aid in their recovery, we can do many things to help them, as well as other native bees in our own backyards, parks and public gardens.

The best thing gardeners can do is to create habitat. Native bees need three things to survive:
 Native forage flowers for adult bees from early spring through fall.
 A bee safe surrounding or yard that doesn’t have disease or pesticides on flowering plants.
 A secure place for bees to build their nests and overwinter. Do not disturb a bumblebee nest in the landscape.
By providing food and habitat, gardeners can encourage native bee populations and help protect against future wildlife losses.

Bring back our pollinators!

March 2017

Is the Rusty Patched Bumblebee Headed for Extinction?

The Rusty Patched Bumblebee contributes to our food security, and the healthy functioning of our ecosystems. Bumblebees are a keystone species in most ecosystems, necessary not only for native wildflower reproduction, but also for creating seeds and fruits that feed wildlife as diverse as songbirds to black bears.

The Rusty Patch Bumblebee may be headed for extinction, one of many bees that play a vital role in pollinating food crops, wild plants and your own flower gardens. The Rusty Patched Bumblebee has disappeared from 90% of its range in the past 20 years.

This bee is native to the Midwest and was at one time thriving here in Minnesota, right in your backyard. The numbers have plummeted since the 1990s. Scientists say disease, pesticide exposure, and habitat loss are among possible causes.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service adopted a rule on January 11, 2017 extending Federal Protection to the Rusty Patch Bumblebee and adding it to the Federal Endangered Species List, the first bee to be so designated. The listing has been put on hold for 60 days and it is unclear that it will ever be designated endangered.

The American Farm Bureau Federation opposes listing the bumblebee as endangered, saying it could lead to costly limits on land and or chemical use.

“The current administration has put the Rusty Patched Bumblebee back on the road to extinction,” said Rebecca Riley, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council.” “This bee is one of the most critically endangered species in our country and we can save it – but not if the White House stands in the way.”

Sources: Associated Press 2/9/17, UPI 2/10/17, Xerces Society 2/10/17, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 1/10/17

How can we help all our pollinators?
 Leave some dandelions; they are a main source of food in the spring for bees. Lop off the dandelion heads as they are ready to go to seed to prevent them from spreading.
 Can’t say it enough, get out and plant some natives. If not in your yard, a nearby park, ditch or approved available space.
 Cut down on pesticide use, especially those neonicotinoids!
 Share all this information about our pollinators and their peril with your community, neighbors, friends, grandchildren.
The Rusty Patched Bumblebee’s survival may depend on it.

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