Calling all Citizen Scientists! If you love observing and learning about nature, here’s an opportunity to learn more about bumble bees AND contribute to an important conservation project! The Xerces Society needs your help as part of their Citizen Scientist Project — Bumble Bee Watch!
We’ve discussed the importance of pollinators and provided links to resources to help you create a pollinator garden. Pollinators, like bumble bees are in decline. Bumble Bee Watch is a new web site that allows people to be directly involved in protecting bumble bees throughout North America. It connects people with experts and other enthusiasts, and helps build a comprehensive picture of where bumble bees are thriving and where they need help.
On their website, click on “How to use bumble bee watch” for an 8 minute video about this cool project! After you register online, here’s what you do:
- Take one to three photos of a bumble bee.
- Log in and upload your photos.
- Use their interactive key to take a stab at identifying your species.
- Your sighting will be verified by a Scientist. You can check back later to get the species identification!
Taking photos is the tricky part! Quick moving bees and wind call for patience! The Xerces Society provides photo tips. And you can find bumble been photo tips online if you have a digital SLR camera or just a point and shoot camera. The Xerces Society would like 5 megapixel size photos (if your camera is set a higher resolution, you can use an online photo editor to reduce the size).
So, grab your camera and go bumble bee hunting! There’s still plenty of season left to contribute to this worthwhile cause. Bumble Bee Watch has opened my eyes to the diversity of bees in my flower garden! By participating in this project, you can help save bumble bees and take another step toward an ecofriendly life of being in tune with the world around you!
Bee on purple flower by Marilyn Jane
Close-up photo of Bombus bimaculatus by Sam Droege, USGS Bumble Bee Lab.