Of the 4,000 species of bees in North America, 1 in 4 is at risk of extinction. You can help them by participating in BeeBlitz! Armed with curiosity, a mobile device, and the iNaturalist app, you’ll find and photograph bees in your area and share them with scientists around the globe. Whether you explore solo, with friends and family, or colleagues and community groups, the data you collect will help track local bee health and populations. Start planning your BeeBlitz today!
Check out this video about the BeeBlitz! event at our Bee Sanctuary on Governors Island in New York City.
1. SHARE YOUR PLAN
Contact us and tell us the date, time, location, and affiliated organization (if applicable) of your BeeBlitz!
2. GET THE INATURALIST APP
Download the app to your mobile device and familiarize yourself with the tool and its functionality.
3. HEAD OUT AND HAVE FUN
Go solo or BeeBlitz with friends, family, and peers. Either way, you’ll love being a citizen scientist!
What is BeeBlitz?
BeeBlitz is derived from the term “BioBlitz” which is an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area. In a BeeBlitz, volunteers, naturalists, and scientists focus on bees by gathering at a specific spot to observe and document the area’s local bee population. During a BeeBlitz, the goal is to photograph and record as many bee species as possible in their designated area.
When should I host a BeeBlitz?
The optimal time to go out to look for bees is early in the morning, but they can be spotted all day during spring, summer, or autumn. This is when bees are the most active.
Who should I invite?
There are no prerequisites for attending a BeeBlitz other than a love of bees and an interest in learning. You can invite friends, family, colleagues, and community members — or, you can embark on your own fact-finding mission alone! BeeBlitz is a fun way to get outdoors and engage with neighborhood plant and pollinators.
Bee safe! A BeeBlitz can be a great way to bring others together while still maintaining local social distancing rules — you can tackle different corners of a park, town, or even connect with friends across states for your group activity.
What should participants bring to my BeeBlitz?
You will be outside for the duration of your event, so keep an eye on the event day’s weather forecast and dress appropriately. Below is a list of suggested items to bring with you to help your day run smoothly!
Do I need to wear a beekeeping suit?
Did you know that most native bees don’t sting? And the ones that do (such as honeybees, and very rarely, a bumblebee) only do so when they are provoked or protecting their home?
During your BeeBlitz, you will only view honey and/or native bees from a distance, without interaction, so a beekeeping suit is not needed.
However, if you have experienced allergic reactions to insect stings in the past — whether from a bee, wasp, hornet, or other organism — please consult with your doctor before attending and bring an Epi-pen and/or allergy medicine as directed by a professional.
Can I get help with species identification?
iNaturalist helps with species identification. It has a fantastic function which suggests common IDs for you based on location, visual similarity, and the collective knowledge of the community of iNaturalist users. The suggestions are based on the quality of the photo (it can be hard to photograph bees!) and are not always correct, but they will often point you in the right direction.
How will the data that I collect be used?
A large number of scientists and taxonomic experts are involved in the iNaturalist community and provide enormous value by helping to identify observations. Your photos, depending on their quality, will be reviewed by experts with the goal of verifying an accurate species identification for your observation. Check out the Identify section of iNaturalist! These are photos that have been taken that have yet to be verified and keyed to species.
What if it rains?
Bees aren’t a fan of the rain! If it is raining during the time that you wanted to host your BeeBlitz, it’s best to reschedule.
Have further questions?
We would love to help! If you are interested in organizing a BeeBlitz event in your local area, please drop us a line on our Contact Us page.
Tackle Step 2 and download iNaturalist.
Through Citizen Science projects like the BeeBlitz, many people have had unexpected encounters with rare bees - and you could be next!
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