Wild monarch butterfly populations have declined by an estimated 90% in the past two decades, due to habitat loss primarily in the Midwestern U.S., where these migratory butterflies spend the summer months. Monarch butterflies are routinely purchased from commercial growers for release at weddings, funerals, and other celebrations, and to raise in classrooms and exhibits for educational purposes. Out of concern for monarch conservation, some private citizens are also rearing hundreds to thousands of monarchs in backyard operations for release into the wild.
More than ever before, there is widespread interest in studying bumble bees and the critical role they play in our ecosystems. Bumble Bees of North America is the first comprehensive guide to North American bumble bees to be published in more than a century. Richly illustrated with color photographs, diagrams, range maps, and graphs of seasonal activity patterns, this guide allows amateur and professional naturalists to identify all 46 bumble bee species found north of Mexico and to understand their ecology and changing geographic distributions.