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BrownfieldAgNews reports:

For the first time, a bee species in the continental United States has been placed on the endangered species list.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says because of its dramatic population decline, the agency has listed the rusty patched bumblebee as endangered.

Its population has fallen by nearly 90-percent since the late 1990's. The rusty patched bumblebee used to be in 28 states. Today it is only 13 states, in the Northeastern U.S. and much of the Upper Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin) and Tennessee.

The agency says the reduction is believed to be caused by a combination of habitat loss, disease, pesticide use and climate change.

Bees are pollinators and are important for the development of alfalfa, fruits and vegetables .

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