Bees & Citizen Science

A rusty patched bumblebee. Nature Picture Library/Alamy

If you are a regular here you have seen plenty about citizen science. And plenty about bees. We have posted only one time previously about the intersection of bees and citizen science. Today makes twice:

How You Can Help Count and Conserve Native Bees

Honeybees and their problems get the most attention, but scientists are using tactics learned from bird conservation to protect American bees.

In the last 20 years, the rusty patched bumblebee population declined by 87 percent because of habitat loss, use of pesticides and disease. This fuzzy bee, native to the continental United States, gets its name from the rusty patch on its back.

These bumblebees pollinate fruits and vegetables we eat, unlike the Gulf Coast solitary bee, which gathers pollen from only one plant — the Coastal Plain honeycomb head, a member of the aster family. You could say they’re specialists, whereas, rusty patched bumblebees and honeybees are generalists.

Honeybees — a European import to the Americas — and their colony collapse problems get a lot of attention, but native bees that have their own ecological role are facing similar and perhaps additional threats. The decline among native bees is a known problem, and there are a variety of efforts to save them; however, the full extent of the problem is not well understood.

“While regional studies have tracked the decline of native bees,” said S. Hollis Woodard, an entomologist at the University of California, Riverside, “there hasn’t been a coordinated nationwide effort to monitor these pollinators.”…

Read the whole story here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s