Bumble bee habitat relationships and distribution models
July 2021 - December 2024
- Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Pollinators are directly responsible for one in three bites of food humans consume, they provide billions of dollars in free pollination services to agricultural producers, and pollinate many plants important to other wildlife species (such as fruiting plant species for bears and forb plant species for ungulates). Across the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and the nation, pollinator populations, including bumble bees (Bombus sp.), are negatively impacted by pesticide misuse, disease, and habitat loss. Species like B. occidentalis (Greene, 1858) and B. suckleyi (Greene, 1860) have been recently petitioned for listing as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Despite compounding evidence demonstrating declines in bumble bee populations, the distribution, habitat preferences, and status of bumble bees and other native pollinators are poorly understood, potentially hampering conservation efforts.
Leveraging the PNW Bumble Bee Atlas, a citizen science initiative, funded by a Competitive State Wildlife Grant (C-SWG) from the FWS, containing thousands of expert verified bumble bee observations, this project aims to address information gaps around the environmental associations of multiple bee species across the PNW. Additionally, the project seeks to document and describe the nest and hibernacula site selection of B. occidentalis through field-based targeted observation.