The western bumble bee, Bombus occidentalis, is included on the red list of bees by The Xerces Society. It was once a common bumble bee west of the Cascades but in the late 1990s it experienced a dramatic decline along coastal regions. The cause was speculated to be due to the introduction of pathogens from captive-bred bumble bees used for pollination of greenhouse crops. In extensive surveys conducted in western and southern Oregon, 10 individuals have been recorded since 2000. In this note, we report the collection of 49 individual B. occidentalis over two years in the Zumwalt Prairie Preserve of northeastern Oregon. This finding shows that B. occidentalis persists in northeastern regions of the Pacific Northwest, either because of geographic isolation from or potential resistance to the pathogens that decimated populations in the western part of the region. Further research is needed to determine its occurrence in other regions of its historical range to assess the extent of its decline. In addition, conservation efforts are critical for protection of this species in both agricultural ecosystems and in native habitats.
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