Venturini quoted in BDN article about newly protected bumblebee species

Eric Venturini, an assistant research scientist in the School of Biology and Ecology at the University of Maine, spoke with the Bangor Daily News about the new protection of the rusty patched bumblebee under the Endangered Species Act. The species will officially receive endangered status on Feb. 10, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, making it the first protected bumblebee species. According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, the species was once common across 28 states, but the population plummeted by 87 percent over the past 20 years, leaving scattered populations in 13 states. While habitat loss, pesticides and other factors have been tied to the decline of bee population, there could be other factors at play, according to the article. “One of the current theories links the decline of this species to the microsporidian pathogen, Nosema bombi,” said Venturini, who studies wild bees and wild bee pollination in agroecosystems. “Research has found that this deadly pathogen is more prevalent in declining bumblebee species, than in species that are not declining.” Venturini also runs Grow Wild Bees, a consulting company that works with clients to plan and plant flora that help pollinators thrive, the article states.