Did you know that you can help the bumblebee population by becoming a bumble bee watcher? It's easy, it's fun, and it can really help our troubled bumblebees! Here's how!
Dr. Jeremy Kerr from the University of Ottawa gave fantastic presentation as part of the City of Ottawa's Wildlife Speaker Series last night. He called on all of us to become citizen scientists and help a worldwide project to understand what is happening to our beloved bumblebees.
What is citizen science? It's quite simple - it's you and me observing nature and reporting what we see, using smartphones and internet, so that scientists (who simply can't gather all that data alone) can better understand the environment. As Dr. Kerr put it last night: ""Let's bring science out into the real world where it can actually make change"
And it's really easy to help! All you need to do is:
1. Take a picture of a bumblebee
2. Log into www.bumblewatch.org and upload your photo
3. Identify your species
The team of volunteer bumble bee experts verifies each picture to make sure that the species is correctly identified - which is important because there are 46 different species of bumble bees in North America!
What has the research team found so far? As reported in Nature: “Bumblebee species across Europe and North America are declining at continental scales,” says Kerr. “Our data suggest that climate change plays a leading, or perhaps the leading, role in this trend.” This is in addition to threats caused by pesticides and land use patterns that result in fewer wildflowers.
Not only are species declining, but their habitat range is narrowing. The researchers see fewer and fewer bumblebees in southern regions, yet the bees are not moving north. This amounts to a lost range of up to nearly 200 miles in both North America and Europe!
So let's help our buzzy friends by letting them shine for the camera! Say 'Bees!'
To learn more about how you can help, please visit www.bumblewatch.org