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Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Guidance

for Surveyors and Researchers

 

Photo by Jill Utrup; USFWS

Survey Protocols

The objectives of the survey protocols and guidance are to:

 

(1) Find and document new rusty patched bumble bee locations;

 

(2) Determine if rusty patched bumble bees are still extant at previously documented locations;

 

(3) Monitor bumblebee  populations to determine long-term population trends; and

 

(4) Provide protocol recommendations for areas that are outside of the areas where we believe rusty patched bumble bee still occurs.

 

View Online Map

Step 1. Use the online map to determine which zone your work is in: High Potential Zone, Low Potential Zone or Historic Range.

 

 

What is the purpose of your survey?

Step 2. Use the table below to determine the survey protocol that is recommended based on the “Purpose” and the “Zone” where your work is located.

 

PDF of Table

Zone

Purpose

Recommended Protocol

Scientific

Recovery

Permit Recommended

Effort

(per visit)

Notes

High Potential Zone
(red dots on map)
"Presence - Absence" Survey for Section 7/10 Consultation/HCP Project Review Yes 1 person-hr per 3 acres of best habitat  
High Potential Zone
(red dots on map)
Bumble bee community and B. affinis population monitoring Recovery Monitoring  Yes 1 person-hr per 3 acres of best habitat  
High Potential Zone
(red dots on map)
Document bumble bee presence without handling B. affinis Photo Only* No At your discretion A photo only can only verify presence, so the survey may not provide sufficient effort necessary for project reviews.
           
Low Potential Zone
(yellow or blue dots on map)
Bumble bee community and population monitoring Recovery Monitoring Yes 1 person-hr per 3 acres of best habitat  
Low Potential Zone
(yellow or blue dots on map)
Document bumble bee presence without handling B. affinis Photo Only  No At your discretion  
           
Unoccupied Zones
(gray shaded area on map)
Find new locations of B. affinis Rapid No 1 person-hr per 3 acres of best habitat If B. affinis is observed, stop survey and notify USFWS.
Unoccupied Zones
(gray shaded area on map)
Document bumble bee presence without handling B. affinis Photo Only  No 1 person-hr per 3 acres of best habitat If B. affinis is observed, stop survey and notify USFWS.
Unoccupied Zones
(gray shaded area on map)
Other bee surveys See Protocol Suggestions for Unoccupied Zones No At your discretion If B. affinis is observed, stop survey and notify USFWS.

 

Step 3. Review the appropriate survey protocol instructions in the “Survey Protocols” document found below. If needed, use ”Bumble Bee Survey Field Data Sheet” and “Data Reporting Spreadsheets” also provided below.

 

Step 4. If you are interested in assessing the quality of the habitat at your survey location, please see the Habitat Assessment Guide.

 

Applying for a Scientific Recovery Permit

If you are surveying for, plan to conduct research on, or plan to handle the rusty patched bumble bee in the High or Low Potential Zones, we recommend that you obtain a Scientific Recovery Permit. Found in Appendix A of the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Survey Protocols, this guidance provides information on who should apply for a recovery permit, how to apply and surveyor qualifications.

 

Recovery permits are issued to allow for take as part of activities intended to foster the recovery of listed species. A typical use of a recovery permit is to allow for scientific research on a listed species to better understand the species' long-term survival needs. If you plan to conduct scientific research on rusty patched bumble bee, we recommend that you apply for a scientific recovery permit.

 

How to Obtain a Scientific Recovery Permit and Frequently Asked Questions Adobe PDF Icon February 27, 2018

 

Survey Locations

We encourage people to survey for bees. We are particularly interested in surveys near recent records of the rusty patched bumble bee (in or near High and Low Potential Zones), but are also interested in surveys across the entire historical range of the species. Bumble bee surveys can provide baseline data, even if rusty patched bumble bee are not present. Bumble bee community data and negative data (surveys where rusty patched bumble bee was not detected) is all important as we plan for recovery.

 

Map of Priority Survey Areas - This map is a guide for bee surveyors who have some discretion on survey locations. The map shows areas of most interest for rusty patched bumble bee surveys, ranked by priority.

 

Photo Surveys

Anyone can take photographs of bumble bees! Help scientists record occurrences of the rusty patched bumble bee and other bumble bee species. For example, Bumble Bee Watch is a citizen science project to track and conserve North America’s bumble bees. Upload your photos of bumble bees and experts will verify identification and record the location.

 

The following citizen science sites have experts that verify your identifications:

 

Bumble Bee Watch

Bee Spotter

 

Research

We need assistance from our partners to conduct or support key research. We know relatively little about some of the biological needs of the species, including the impacts of disease and pathogens, specific requirements for suitable nesting and overwintering habitat, regionally specific floral preferences; distance that workers forage; how far rusty patched bumble bee males and new queens travel to find suitable mates in the fall.  

 

Here are a few research topic ideas:

    • Nesting habitat needs
    • Overwintering habitat needs
    • Disease and pathogens
    • Floral preferences
    • Foraging distance
    • Dispersal of new queens and males
    • Effects of management practices on colony health
    • Effects of insecticides and fungicides

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Last updated: May 2, 2018