Welcome to the 2023 season of WiBee!
Welcome! Thank you for being a part of our community. Your surveys provide valuable information to help us better understand pollinator activity across Wisconsin. We’d also like to send out a special welcome to our participants in Sun Prairie’s No Mow May program.
We’re looking forward to some great bee observations this year! As things warm up, it’s a good time to dust off your WiBee: The Wisconsin Wild Bee App and take it out for a 5-minute test run on some flowers near you (when the snow finally melts).
Get started or review by watching this short video or downloading this pdf.
- Chose a 3×3 ft area of flowers to observe. Observe only one flower species per survey, and don’t cast a shadow over the flowers.
- Answer a few questions in the app about location and weather. Sunny is better! Upload a photo.
- Hit the timer and count flower visits for 5 minutes. Count each time a pollinator lands on a flower, so if the same pollinator visits 3 flowers that is 3 counts!
Quick bee facts
Which bees are you likely to see first once the weather warms up again? Two kinds of bees that fly early in spring are mining bees (Andrena species) and mason bees (Osmia species). You will also see queen bumble bees as they emerge from hibernation. These bees are especially important pollinators of spring blooming crops like apple.
Mining bees (Andrena): These bees are ground nesting bees like 70% of all bee species in the world. Although they are solitary, they are aggregate nesters so you will often find a bunch of them nesting close together. You can find them in sunny, sparsely vegetated areas of lawns, gardens, and parks. Like all solitary bees they are gentle and would rather fly away than get near you. As one of the first bees out, they are a welcome sign of spring. These bees generally fall into the “large dark bee” category on WiBee.
Mason bees (Osmia): These solitary bees are special because they overwinter as adult bees inside last years nest which is made inside hollow plant stems. This makes them ready to fly as soon as temps warm up! Look for the dark metallic blue shine on their bodies and females carrying pollen on their tummies. Osmia frequently fall into the “small dark bee” category on WiBee, but bigger species might be “large dark bees.”