Bee-watching-- the new bird-watching

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 10:05 AM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Bird-watchers who many have seen them all are being encouraged to take up a new hobby-- bee-watching. Bee experts want you to help monitor the health of pollinators, and they say the data you can collect with your camera right in your own backyard is incredibly valuable.

At the North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier, Spencer Hardy with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies was able to catch a handful of bumblebees.

Hardy was cooling the bees to slow them down so he could check out species up close. It doesn’t hurt the bees but allowed Hardy to explain what makes them unique and why some need our help.

Hardy is the project coordinator for the Vermont Wild Bee Survey, and they are looking for citizen scientists to go “beeing.”

“There are only so many of us but having people in their backyard that can regularly take pictures of bumblebees, they see is a great way to monitor changes at a much broader scale,” said Hardy

Bees are vital to our ecosystem.

“How they are interacting with our landscape and how they are changing over time is really important for these important pollinators,” said Hardy

Using apps like INaturalist and BumbleBeeWatch you can contribute photos to a large database full of bees. Additionally, the Vermont Center for Ecostudies offers a free Bumble Bees of New England Guide with 13 common species.

If you are interested in “beeing,” Hardy had some advice: pick a nice flower and be patient, some bumblebees sting.

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