Drummond, Venturini featured in Press Herald articles on bee research

Frank Drummond, a professor of insect ecology in the School of Biology and Ecology, spoke with the Portland Press Herald for the article, “The disappearance of Maine’s rusty patched bumblebee.” Drummond is the last known person to hold a Maine-born rusty patched bumblebee, according to the article. He held the bee in 2009 while his students collected specimen in Stockton Springs. When Drummond first started collecting bees in the state in 1989, the rusty patched bumblebee made up about 20 percent of the state’s overall native bumblebee population, but it had grown scarce by the late 1990s, suggesting a collapsing population, the article states. “With some of these catastrophic events, you don’t realize it until it has already happened,” Drummond said. “It wasn’t even in my mind that this was possibly the last time that this bee was going to be the last one we saw.” Kalyn Bickerman-Martens, a UMaine doctoral candidate working on native bee conservation, said there are only 250 species of bumblebees worldwide, so the fact that Maine has been home to 17 of them represents a strong diversity. Bickerman-Martens and Drummond spoke about their research into bee colony collapses, including possible causes such as a fungal pathogen called Nosema bombi. Eric Venturini, an assistant research scientist at UMaine’s School of Biology and Ecology, was the focus of another Press Herald article related to bee research. Venturini is pursuing his love of sustainable agriculture through research into bees and collaborations with farmers, according to the article.