Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Bumble Bee Project Seeks Citizen Scientists
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A bumblebee loaded with pollen in its pollen baskets partakes of nectar. PHOTO: mons.wikimedia.org/
   
Thursday, June 10, 2021
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Wanted: Bombas franlini volunteers.

Citizen scientists are needed to conduct bumble bee surveys across Idaho, Oregon and Washington in an effort to learn how to save the threatened pollinators.

Volunteers in the Pacific Northwest Bumble Bee Atlas study are assigned grid cells to visit at least twice during the bumble bee season. Volunteers will then be asked to submit the data they collect online.

Bumble bees are considered charismatic and easily recognizable pollinators because of their large size and distinctive striped patterns. Those patterns are usually black and yellow, but some boast stripes of red, orange or white.

They keep the environment healthy by pollinating flowers and farm crops.

In recent years, however, pollinator populations have declined—perhaps due to loss of habitat, pesticide use, climate change, overgrazing, competition with honey bees and the introduction of pathogens through commercial pollinators.

Two species—Franklin’s bumble bee (Bombus franklini) and the rusty-patched bumble bee (B. affinis) may already be on the brink of extinction. And the Morrison’s bumble bee and the Suckley cuckoo bumble bee appear to be in decline.

The Pacific Northwest Bumble Bee Atlas study helps address the decline by determining where the animals live so their habitat can be protected and new habitat can be created.

The three states in the study are home to nearly 30 species of bumble bees. The study is hosted by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Xerces Society.

For more information, visit https://www.pnwbumblebeeatlas.org. Or, contact Joel Sauder, regional wildlife diversity biologist for Idaho Department of Fish and Game at joel.sauder@idfg.idaho.gov

 

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