For the Love of Affinis: MSHS and U Bee Squad Join Forces

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2018 issue of Northern Gardener.

The University of Minnesota Bee Squad and MSHS are joining forces to bring you a full day of programming centered on supporting endangered pollinators. The event will be held Saturday, June 23, at the Cargill Building on the St. Paul campus of the U.

Rusty patched bumblebee on sedum

Bombus affinis — the rusty patched bumble bee

Bumblebees are a common sight in most Minnesota gardens, but some species have become increasingly uncommon, particularly over the last 20 years. While you may still see many bumblebees at your flowers, there are likely fewer types of than there used to be.

Eight of our 23 Minnesota bumblebee species are vulnerable to decline. One species, the rusty-patched bumblebee (Bombus affinis) is the first bee in the continental U.S. to receive protection from the Endangered Species Act. Minnesota is one of the few places where this once common bee still exists.

We are lucky to still have the rusty-patched bumblebee in our gardens, but we also have a great responsibility to help bees recover. This event will bring together scientific experts, gardening professionals, artists, and policy makers to provide expert knowledge, practical solutions, and a broad vision to make our part of the world a place where endangered bumblebees and other pollinators can thrive. The event will focus on the rusty-patched bumblebee but other pollinators will be discussed as well.

Save the date to join MSHS and the Bee Squad on the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus on Saturday, June 23rd for a day filled with information, discussion, garden tours and creativity.

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