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Bee Hunt!

Discover Life no longer manages Bee Hunt. We have turned our attention to moths, as these species are an ideal group to study for scientific, educational, and logistic reasons. If you would like to participate in our mothing project, please email dl@discoverlife.org. To learn more about Bee Hunt, please email Sam Droege.

Arilus cristatus
Photograph by Sam Pickering
Arilus cristatus (Linnaeus, 1763)
Wheel bug nails non-native bee


We hope you will find Bee Hunt a great way to teach and learn about pollination ecology and other aspects of natural history. Bee Hunt is a participatory science project. It's your research. You are the scientists. By following our methods, you will collect and contribute high-quality data. Collectively your findings will help us all better understand and manage pollinators that are important in growing food and maintaining healthy natural ecosystems.

Bee Hunt is open to anyone, anywhere, whenever pollinators are flying. In North America, depending upon your location, you can start as early as March and go as late as November. It is a part of Discover Life's Macrosystems Research to understand the impact of climate change and other factors on species interactions, geographic distributions, and seasonal abundances.

There are four ways to participate in Bee Hunt:

  1. inventory pollinators at your site with photographs,
  2. compare species in two patches,
  3. provide nesting sites for mason bees and study when they are active,
  4. use bowls and soapy water to collect insects for a more complete inventory of species.
The first is an easy way to start studying nature and contribute to the scientific understanding of pollinators.

Before you read further, please watch our 5 minute video about Bee Hunt. It explains how to use photography to collect accurate data on species.

If you set up an inventory, you will decide when and where to study species. If you decide to compare patches, you will set a time period for each sample, take photographs to document what you find in a sample, and then replicate to obtain multiple samples.

For how to inventory a site or comparing patches, click here.

Discover Life provides ways to help identify and analyze what you find. After you study and ask questions at your own site, you can also compare your data to those collected at other Discover Life study sites.

We encourage all participants to get a personal album so that they can start a life list to document what species they see where and when. Data in these albums automatically map. With information from other sources, they will help us understand at regional and continental scales how species respond to weather patterns, invasive species, pollution, and other important factors.

Bee Hunt is funded by a the U. S. Department of Interior's National Biological Information Infrastructure and by the National Science Foundation. It is a partner of PollinatorLive, which edited the above video. PollinatorLive is funded by the USDA Forest Service and other sponsors.

Updated: 2 June, 2015
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