Value of endangered bumblebees weighed in VT

By Joel Banner Baird, Free Press Staff Writer

here are precious few — if any — rusty-patch bumblebees left in Vermont to benefit from its weeks-old protection as an endangered species.

Ditto for the Ashton cuckoo bumblebee, which hasn’t been seen in these parts in more than a decade.

The yellow-banded bumblebee, also a once-common native species, has been freshly listed as threatened — a less dire designation.

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources quietly added the three bees to its roster in late March, without so much as a press release.

A muted celebration is in order, said ANR Secretary Deb Markowitz on Wednesday.

“The listing is part of a bigger conversation,” Markowitz said. “The broader issue is: What is happening to our pollinators?”

The question is much more than rhetorical.