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Find Bumble Bees, Photograph, Count and Share

The bumble bee count runs from July 23 to August 1, 2023.

For an overview on how to get started, we highly recommend first viewing this video produced by University of Minnesota- Extension

Step-by-step instructions: 

1. Go to iNaturalist and become a member of the Backyard Bumble Count Project (there are 2
projects listed– “traditional” project will request additional information about your observation
and “collection” project will require only photo).

2. If you have not identified bumble bees before, please see Bumble Bee Identification for helpful resources.

3. When conducting your survey, look for bumble bees at a site (like your back yard, your favorite park, a property you manage). Take a photo of each species of bumble bee that you see.

4. Count the number of each species that you see. If the numbers are high, estimate the number.

5. Document the amount of time that you spend at the site observing, photographing and counting bumble bees. Whether you spend a few minutes in your backyard and snap a photo or you go to multiple sites, recording your observations over many hours, you can participate and your information is important. 

6. If you move to a different site (a different part of your property or park), consider it a new site and observe, photograph and count bumble bees at that site.


7. Within the Backyard Bumble Bee Count Project either via the app or on your computer, upload your photos and enter your data.

Note: the Backyard Bumble Bee Count runs from July 23 to August 1. Only images taken and data collected during those days can be added to the Count.

What will you need for your surveys:

  • Smart phone or camera

  • Survey sheet (if entering records later and/or not using app on phone), pencil, and clipboard

  • Optional: Bumble bee and flower field guides or identification aids (see Bumble Bee Identification for training before starting surveys) 

Each observation/survey will include:

  • Bumble bee species (you can use “what did you see?
    View suggestions” to determine potential species identified)

  • Sex of the species (unknown is an option)

  • Number of that species, by sex, observed

  • Flower or plant that the bees are visiting
    (if you are unsure on flower species, often potential
    plant species will be recommended when viewing potential bumble bee species).

  • If they are visiting multiple plants, list the one that the most bees are on.

  • How much time you spent observing at this location. 

  • Location by latitude and longitude (if not on app).

  • At least 1 photo of each species; multiple photos are preferred (helps
    with verifying identification).

How to take photos of bumble bees

Tips on photographing bumble bees with your cellphone.

Backyard Bumble Bee Count logo, an illustraion of a wild bergamot flower anda rusty patched bumble bee.
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