Very Rare Bumblebee Found in Southern Minnesota Prairie
A very rare bumblebee was spotted in a Southern Minnesota prairie last week. This type of bumblebee is so rare that many people thought they didn't live in Minnesota anymore.
The Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program shared a photo of the bee and the story on their Facebook page. A Regional Nongame Wildlife Specialist named Lisa Gelvin-Innvaer was out surveying a restored prairie when this bumblebee caught her eye because it looked "unusual". She caught it, snapped a few pictures, and then released it and continued to do her surveying. Once she was done she went back to the office to try and identify the bee.
She went through all of the likely Minnesota species matches for this bee and none of them matched up with the bee she had found. So after contacting a few people she eventually discovered that this was a Southern Plains Bumble Bee (Bombus fraternus) which is a very rare bee in Minnesota.
In their Facebook post, the Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program says that they weren't even sure this bee still lived in Minnesota until Lisa discovered it the other day, of course. The reason this bee is so rare here is because of habitat loss. These bees typically live in prairies and in Minnesota, only about 1% of our native prairies remain. So this bee was quite an exciting find!