A Ghost in the Making: Photographing the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee

A Rusty-patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis) worker forages in a Madison, Wisconsin garden in late summer. Due to declines over the past 15 years this species is now one of the rarest bees in North America. © Clay Bolt | claybolt.com | beautifulbees.org

This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Read our other articles on the National Geographic Voices blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world.

Text and photos by iLCP Fellow Clay Bolt, and video by iLCP Affiliate Neil Losin
A Rusty-patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis) worker forages in a Madison, Wisconsin garden in late summer. Due to declines over the past 15 years this species is now one of the rarest bees in North America. © Clay Bolt | claybolt.com | beautifulbees.org

Over the past two years I have become increasingly fascinated, okay obsessed, with North America’s native bees. Although I initially began photographing them in my backyard in between assignments it didn’t take long for me to become mesmerized by the lives of these remarkable, often minute creatures. North America has about 4,000 species of native bees. Yet despite all the press about the decline of the honey bee (Apis mellifera) – an exotic species introduced to North America from Europe – none of our native bees are protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

My first Rusty-patched Bumble Bee was a preserved museum —> Read More Here

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