The rusty patched bumblebee became Minnesota's state bee in 2019.
The rusty patched bumblebee, Bombus affinis, became Minnesota's state bee in 2019.
This fuzzy bumblebee can be identified by a rust-colored patch on its abdomen. It's found in grasslands and prairies in and around the Twin Cities metro area in Minnesota.
The rusty patched bumblebee was once widespread in the Eastern United States, but now is found in just a fraction of its former range. Since 2017, it has been listed as an endangered species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and since 2015, as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
The rusty patched bumblebee's designation as State Bee is intended to raise awareness about the role of pollinators in Minnesota's ecosystems and the importance of conservation of their habitats.
Minnesota Statutes 2019 Section 1.1465
Photo: Kim Mitchell, US Fish & Wildlife Service