Bumble Bee Watch

March 11, 2014 | Permalink
Bees are important to us and vital in tomato pollination. So we’ve teamed up with researchers from the University of California-Davis and the Xerces Society, an organization devoted to protecting wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates (such as bees) and their habitats.
One project we’re working on includes planting native plants next to several California Muir Glen tomato fields to serve as new habitat for bumblebees.
Not only is a growth in native habitat good for bees, it’s good for farmers too. Studies have also shown that tomatoes pollinated by native bees produce larger and more fruit. With time, research and results on its side, Muir Glen hopes to convince other farmers to participate by having native wildflowers planted next to their fields too.
As the project progresses, Muir Glen will share our findings with all farmers so everyone will benefit – but especially the bees. 
Today we’re excited to share information on The Xerces Society’s newest bee conversation initiative: Bumble Bee Watch! 
Bumble Bee Watch is here!
The Xerces Society has launched a new website, Bumble Bee Watch, allowing people to be directly involved in protecting bumble bees throughout North America. BumbleBeeWatch.org enables people to connect with experts and other enthusiasts, and help build a comprehensive picture of where bumble bees are thriving and where they need help.
What is Bumble Bee Watch?
Bumble Bee Watch is a collaborative effort to track and conserve North America’s bumble bees. This citizen science project allows for individuals to:
  • Upload photos of bumble bees to start a virtual bumble bee collection;
  • Identify the bumble bees in your photos and have your identifications verified by experts;
  • Help researchers determine the status and conservation needs of bumble bees;
  • Help locate rare or endangered populations of bumble bees;
  • Learn about bumble bees, their ecology, and ongoing conservation efforts; and
  • Connect with other citizen scientists.
How can you participate?
We need your help! Because these animals are widely distributed the best way to keep track of them is with an army of volunteers across the country armed with cameras. With any luck, you might help us to find remnant populations of rare species before they go extinct. Participating in Bumble Bee Watch is simple and you can get started now by creating an account via the “sign in” tab at the top of the page. Once you have an account, go out and check your garden, in parks, or any other natural areas you frequent for bumble bees. Be sure to snap a photo (learn more about how to photograph bees here) and then sign in and submit your data via our Bumble Bee Sightings form. Have fun while learning more about bumble bees and the vital role they play in our environment!
Other ways you can help:
  • Create habitat! You can find more information about how to create bumble bee habitat at www.xerces.org/bumblebees.
  • Support local and organic agriculture. Many pesticides are harmful to bumblebee colonies and many vegetable and fruit plants provide great food sources for bees.
  • Spread the word! Many people are afraid of bumble bees and other insects. Let your friends and family know how important they are and encourage them to take photos too!

Originally posted on The Xerces Society's Bumble Bee Watch 

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