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Dear neighbors, 

The rusty patched bumble bee is now the official state bee of Minnesota! It’s nice to see pollinators getting the attention that they deserve.

 
Designating the rusty patched bumble bee as a state symbol is important because boosts public awareness and will help protect the endangered species. The population of bumble bees is declining rapidly. In fact, Minnesota is one of the few states where they’re spotted consistently. If you’d like to learn more about our new state bee and its threatened status, MinnPost published an article with lots of great information here.
 
There’s also several ways that you can help protect the rusty patched bumble bee and other pollinators. Here’s a few ideas:
  • Report bee sightings to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Scientists use this data to study pollinators. Visit www.bumblebeewatch.org to help!
  • Plant pollinator-friendly plants and limit pesticide use. Tips for making your yard or garden more attractive to bees are available here. You can also check out a list of plants that provide vital nutrients from the University of Minnesota Bee Lab here.
  • Consider turning your lawn into a habitat for pollinators. Thanks to the environment and natural resources budget that we passed last week, homeowners will be able to apply for help with this conversion process next year. A Star Tribune article about the Lawns to Legumes program is available here. If you’re interested in applying, the latest information is available here.
  • Contact your elected officials and ask them to support pollinators during National Pollinator Week (June 17-23). Check out www.pollinator.org/pollinator-week for more suggestions.
 
Thank you for your interest in the work we do at the legislature.

Sincerely, 

Rick Hansen 
State Representative 
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