You probably haven't heard of the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee, but you've definitely benefitted from their existence.

The Chicago-Rockford International Airport was slated to undergo a $50 million cargo expansion project that should be starting soon. The Rockford airport already is a massive cargo hub with UPS and Amazon using the airport as one of their main Midwestern hubs. The cargo expansion is expected to bring about 600 jobs to the Rockford area.

Then, like every other home improvement project that has ever been done, they ran into a little problem.

Bees.

WREX - Starting in the fall of 2021, the FAA initiated informal consultation, including investigating the potential effects of the cargo expansion on the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee that was reported at the airport...

The Biological Assessment identified that the expansion project may affect or likely to adversely affect the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee.

If you've paid attention to anything over the last 10 years, you know that a diminishing  bee population could have devastating effects on human life.

So what is the Rust Patched Bumble Bee? Great question.

This is the little guy in question.

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Pretty cute for a bee. But this guy is in trouble. The Rust Patched Bumble Bee was the first bee listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 2017.

The Rusty Patched Bumble Bee, or Bombus affinis (excellent band name,) like many other types of bees are excellent pollinators of thousands of plants and crops that populate the Midwest and beyond.

The Rockford Airport has said that the cargo expansion project is still on but will work with any agencies to make sure that the bees stay safe.

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