Bee Hunt!

Bee Hunt!

Bee Hunt! was designed to teach and learn about pollination ecology and other aspects of natural history. Citizen scientists can either choose to inventory bees and all other natural history at a site, or they can design an experiment that compares pollinators at two different patches of flowers.

When inventorying a site, choose a time when pollinators are likely to be out (a sunny day with some flowers present) and follow the steps listed on the Bee Hunt! Web site. Organizers also provide tips on how to design one's own experiment.

Bee Hunt is funded by the U. S. Department of Interior's National Biological Information Infrastructure and by the National Science Foundation. It is a partner of PollinatorLive, which is funded by the USDA Forest Service and other sponsors. Although organizers claim that Bee Hunt! is not citizen science, the project matches Scientific American's definition of a citizen science project. Bee Hunt!'s organizers seek to emphasize that the project follows "rigorous research protocols and error-checking methods and adhere to the highest quality methods of data collection."

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: John Pickering, associate professor
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: University of Georgia
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Fieldwork
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages

    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. Contact the organizers for more information.

    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.

See more projects in FreeFieldworkAll Ages.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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