WiBee: The Wisconsin Wild Bee App

What is The WiBee App?

WiBee (pronounced Wee-bee) is a new smartphone app developed by the Gratton Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. We invite growers and interested community members to use the app during the growing season to collect high quality data on wild bee abundance and diversity on Wisconsin’s fruit and vegetable farms, as well as non-crop habitats.

With your help, we can provide growers with better pollination management recommendations specific to individual farms and share more information about the diversity, abundance and value of Wisconsin’s wild bees.

Whether you are a gardener, grower, student, or just interested in bees, you can contribute to WiBee.

Download the App

The WiBee App is publicly available for anyone to use

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Learn how to get started

  1. Learn to identify our 5 groups of bees and distinguish them from other non-bee insects that visit flowers.
  2. Read our one-page protocol on how to collect high quality data.
  3. Download the app. In the app, take a short Bee Photo ID Quiz to check your identification skills.
  4. Get started surveying bees!

Learn more

Explore the data

All of the data collected using the WiBee app can be viewed in our Data Dashboard.  Select surveys by location, user ID, date, habitat type, or plant species, and few graphical summaries of pollinator trends. Contributor names, IDs, and exact survey locations are not shown on the dashboard for privacy reasons. To learn more about our privacy policy, click here.

Visit our Data Dashboard

Read our annual summaries

Read our quick summaries of the past year surveys for all habitats combined, or focus on particular crops or the most commonly surveyed wildflowers and ornamentals.

Read our Data Summaries

Get involved in wild bee research and conservation

One question on the minds of many fruit and vegetable growers is: On my farm, are wild bees able to provide my full crop pollination needs in lieu of managed honey bees?

Wild bees, such as bumble, mason and squash bees, are important pollinators of our food crops. There are over 400 species of wild bees in Wisconsin alone, actively pollinating crops and wildflowers from spring to fall. Many crops are dependent on animal pollination, including apples, berries, melons, squash, and cucumbers. However, we don’t know enough about the abundance and distribution of wild bees to recommend, for an individual farm, whether wild bees alone can provide a crop’s full pollination needs.

We designed the WiBee app to be simple and easy-to-use so that with just a little preparation, growers and citizen scientists can partner with us to observe wild bees. In the app, users complete a series of 5 minute bee observation surveys on a 3 foot by 3 foot area of a blooming crop, recording the number of flower visits they observe.

We welcome collaborations with local fruit and vegetable growers who want to work with us to make WiBee a better and more useful tool for them to monitor their local pollinator populations. Please email us at pollinators@wisc.edu if you are interested.

About the project

This citizen science wild bee research project was created and is managed by the Gratton Lab in the UW-Madison Department of Entomology.

Funding for the WiBee project was provided by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment and Gwenyn Hill Farm located in Waukesha, WI.

We’d like to send out a special thanks to all the apple growers who tested out early versions of the app and methods, including Atoms to Apples, Brightonwoods Orchard, Door Creek Orchard, Ela Orchard, Hafs Road Orchard, Lapacek’s Orchard, Munchkey Apples, Pleasant Springs Orchard, Ten Eyck Orchard, The Apple Hut, as well as the IPM Institute of North America.

And finally, we want to thank Jeremy Hemberger, Katy Bradford, and Colleen Satyshur, who helped develop the WiBee project along the way but have since moved on to greener pastures.

To get in touch with us, please email us at pollinators@wisc.edu.

Meet the WiBee team

Ben Bradford

Position title: Data visualization and analysis

Email: bbradford@wisc.edu

Hannah Gaines-Day

Position title: Scientist and project lead

Email: hgaines@wisc.edu

Claudio Gratton

Position title: Professor and principal investigator

Email: cgratton@wisc.edu

Phone: (608) 265-3762

Dan Imhoff

Position title: App developer

Email: dan@caracal.tech

Eliza Pessereau

Position title: M.S. student and outreach coordinator

Email: pessereau@wisc.edu