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 email@example.com if you are interested.