The plump rusty patched bumblebee, Bombus affinis, once buzzed all across the eastern United States, the upper Midwest and parts of Canada. But today, the chunky critter is endangered, its population reduced by nearly 90 percent. In Minnesota, where the rusty patched bumblebee can still be found, officials have hatched a plan to help bolster the species’ population: the state wants to pay residents to turn their lawns into bumblebee havens. Almost a million dollars has been earmarked for helping homeowners populate their pristine lawns with bee-friendly plants, like native grasses, creeping thyme and dutch white clover.
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