Although movies have been made and books have been written extensively about them, it is doubtful that bees have desired to be the center of attention. Common on every continent, except Antarctica, bees are humble global pollinators. According to the United Nations, the global worth of crops pollinated by honeybees was estimated at $200 billion in 2005. However, from the 1970’s until around 2006, researchers noticed a gradual, and then a sudden drop in all bee populations. One important contributing factor has been Colony Collapse Syndrome (CCD). This occurs when worker bees from a European honeybee colony or from a beehive vanish almost spontaneously. Many explanations have been offered for CCD, including: malnutrition, mites, genetic factors, and other possibilities.
Scientists are developing conservation efforts for dwindling bumblebee populations, but they need our help. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation along with partners has a website where we can assist. The site gives individuals a chance to help make a record to better understand where bees are living and thriving in nature. To aid in reaching this goal:
1. First, find bees in your area.
2. Next, take photos of the bees with your camera or Smartphone.
3. Then, head to the Bumble Bee Watch website at: bumblebeewatch.org.
4. Create a free account.
5. Finally, you can upload the photos you have shot of the bees from your cameras or smart phones.
The data will be used to assist in targeting local populations of these insects for conservation purposes. The website will ask several questions to aid in identifying the type of bee you have found. From your responses, researchers can better utilize resources and strategies to help these pollinators.
Indeed, there are a variety of bees in my state, North Carolina. I’m interested in what may be buzzing beyond my door, in my metropolis planted in a forest, or you may say, Raleigh. In fact, I’m going outside to take a few shots of these little fellows right now. Smile! Mr. Bee, you are a reluctant star!