A website to report sightings of wild bees

Mentioned this to a friend a while back, but couldn’t remember what the site actually was, finally looked it up today.

The site is Bumble Bee Watch at the address http://www.bumblebeewatch.org/contents/.

Users sign up for an account and can send in photos they take of bees they see out in the wild, along with place and date. Experts will look at the photos and see if they can determine what type of bee it is. Your sighting will be placed on a map of the U.S.

I’ll admit the last paragraph is all theoretical information for me — I haven’t yet signed up or submitted any photos, although I plan to do so in the future.

A few years ago I got some good pictures of bees clustered on a sunflower blossom, but that was me playing around with a macro lens on a DSLR camera with a tripod. Trying to catch a detailed picture with a point-and-shoot or a phone camera is something I haven’t tried, and there are some helpful tips on the Bumble Bee Watch website on how to take pictures so there are enough details the site’s experts can actually identify the bee.

Bumble Bee Watch is a partnership among numerous organizations, including the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Although Xerces is listed as just one of many partnering organizations, the email address for Bumble Bee Watch is bumblebeewatch@xerces.org, so my thought is they are fairly invested in it if they are willing to be the initial point-of-contact for any emails. Xerces’ own bumble bee page is fairly interesting.

And while I’m listing wild bee information, here’s a few other links:

  • http://pollinator.org/PDFs/Identifying_Native_Bees_PosterFINAL.pdf –  A three page PDF file with drawings of wild bees and information about habits and range of each. Undated, which is very irritating, but given the website it’s hosted on and the number of organizations and associations that have their logos on it, I’m pretty sure it’s legit.
  • http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/02/03/humans-responsible-bee-virus-spread – Article about a wild bee virus being found originally in European honey bees and not being that big of a deal for adults but becoming a real problem when the Varroa mite started spreading it to young bees in the hives.
  • http://www.takepart.com/video/2015/05/21/bee-time-lapse-colony-collapse – Time-lapse video of bees growing from egg to adult bee. You can even see a Varroa mite crawling around on one of them while it is still a pupa. Just as interesting as the article and video are the comments, where there’s a discussion of the effect of electromagnetic fields like wifi and cell phone towers, and one person claims that putting a copper wire on the entrance to the hive slightly ionizes the bees themselves and that runs off the Varroa mites — I’ve never heard of any of that before, but am very very curious.

And from the United Kingdom, here is an article about bees with numbers glued to their backs being released in London so their range and habits can be tracked by residents.

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