Many of you have read this January that the beautiful Rusted-patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) has been declared a rare species. Its habitat has shrunk from covering the entire northeast of the country to just patches in Virginia, Illinois and Southern Wisconsin.
You will be glad to know that the Preserve is one of these fortunate places that this bumble calls its home. View the summary of the July 20, (2014) field trip led by Susan Carpenter, member of the Friends and native bee specialist at the Arboretum. The Rusty-patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) was seen and photographed that day and other days. Glenda Denniston had her photographs confirmed by Rich Hatfield of the Xerces Society in Madison. These bees, Susan says, "have been documented in the Preserve in (July) surveys in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. These are photo records. My former student Emily Greinwald did more extensive surveys for her Preserve project in summer 2015."
As Susan Carpenter says in her UWMADSCIENCE interview on these special bees in the Arboretum, "In a way the endangered species designation is a stroke of good fortune. Only the female rusty-patched queens-to-be survive the winter, already mated with male bees before they began their hibernation. They will emerge in mid to late April to start new colonies in a world that is now far more aware of their (albeit reduced) presence. Some of us will be out there to spot and admire them in the Biocore Prairie.
Do not miss watching the award winning movie by Clay Bolt, A Ghost in the Making. which features his visit with Susan Carpenter and Rich Hatfield at the Arboretum.
Gisela Kutzbach and contributors