WiBee frequently asked questions

Here are some questions we have gotten from users.

Questions about getting the app to function

Questions about survey protocol

Questions about how to fill our the pre-survey questionnaire

Questions about pollinator identification groups

App functioning

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Q: I downloaded the app in the past, do I need an update?

Many people’s devices update automatically but it might be good to check. Here’s how. Go to your app store, search WiBee and see if there is a button that says “update” to the right of the app name, something like this:

If you are already up to date, it will say something like “open,” like this:

Q: Is it possible to use a laptop computer vs. smartphone for this project?

Unfortunately, no, at this time the app only works for operating systems on smartphones or tablets.

Q: I am having difficulty setting up the WiBee app. It will not recognize my email address.

The first thing to check is that your email is entered correctly. Sometimes a typo will throw off the process. If you check this and it continues, email us at pollinators@wisc.edu

Q: The map to choose my location before a survey is not working or does not appear accurate.

There is the option to move the map with your fingers to manually choose your location. If you have your location tracker turned off on your phones main settings, then you can choose your location this way. To set location manually:

  1. use the “+” button to zoom in (“-” to zoom out). You can also do a “pinching” motion on the map to zoom out and the opposite (move thumb and first finger apart) to zoom in.
  2. To move the map around use one finger.
  3. When the curser is at your location, or pretty close, just hit the “done” button near the top of the screen.
  4. It’s a little awkward on a small screen sometimes and can be helpful to do ahead of time where you can see your phone better, such as while inside your house or car. One good thing is that if you are often doing the same location, hit “take another survey” at the end of a survey and it will pre-load your location, you don’t have to search again. You can do this after your last survey for the day and it will usually save the location until the next time you open the app.

Q: I would like to set my phone so it automatically sets my location

You can go into your phone settings and change the location/gps permissions for the WiBee app.

  1. For an iPhone, this is what you click on your phone: Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services -> WiBee -> While Using the App
  2. For an Android, long press on the WiBee app icon, and then click: App info -> Permissions -> Location -> Allow only while using the app

Q: I can't seem to take a picture in the WiBee App

Check if you need to “allow” the WiBee app to have access to your camera. If you go into the settings icon (usually a gray gear icon) and scroll down to a line for WiBee (you may have to scroll all the way to the bottom). Then click the WiBee line, and a new menu opens where there is a line to allow access to the camera.

Q: I'm having trouble finding or selecting the non-crop plant I want to survey.

We are updating this section, but here’s a rundown of the current steps. When you click on “flowering plant” for non-crops, it brings you to a page that looks like this. Focal plants are listed under “common” or “rare” headings in the grey bars.

To choose a plant that’s not on the focal plant lists, scroll down to the bottom until you see the yellow “look for more” button and click it.

Now you can type in your plant in the “search” box located under “plant selection” at the top.
screenshot of plant selection page showing search bar
If you don’t see your species, you can search for and select its genus or family.  For example, below maybe I wanted to survey “chives” but it didn’t come up, so I search for the genus that chives are in (Allium). It gives me a couple species of Allium other than chives, but also give me the option to just choose “Genus Allium.” I can write “chives” in the notes section. Don’t forget to click “done” in the upper right after you select the circle next to your plant choice.

If you cant find either the genus or the species, you can search “other” and choose that and put the species in the notes. If there’s a species you want to survey that isn’t listed, email pollinators@wisc.edu and we’ll try to get it added on. We’ve tried to add as many of the most common plants we can, but we may not have every species, there are a lot of plants in WI, especially ornamentals!

screenshot showing how to search and select

Survey protocol

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Q: What do I do if I want to survey a 3x3 ft area with more than one flower species in it? 

Choose 1 flower species for any given 5-minute survey and only count bee visits to flowers of that species in your 3x3ft area. In the example pictures below, I could choose to survey either dandelions or violets, but not both at the same time. After I survey dandelions in this area, I could start another 5 minute survey and just watch the violet flowers.

patch of lawn with dandelions and violets, dandelions circledpatch of lawn with dandelions and violets, violets circled

Q: Is it okay to do more surveys in a location when new plant types start to bloom?  

Yes, more surveys are better! If you started surveying one plant at a chosen location, but later on another kind starts blooming and you want to survey that also, that’s great. If you really want to know about the pollination of a particular plant or crop, then doing repeat surveys on that plants flowers are important. We recommend 3 surveys /day on 3 separate days (at least 9 surveys total). Bees can be so variable during even 1 day. But surveys on other species during the same time period will help give a picture of the pollinator community in your area at that time. Surveys later in the season provide information about pollinator community throughout the year at your location. All surveys help.

Q: After I do the 3 days of 3 surveys per day, is it still useful I do only 1 or 2 a day? Does it need to be 3 per day (or more?) for the survey to be of use?

The more surveys the better! Wild bees are rather variable depending on weather among other things. Three a day helps to capture variability within a day. If you just have time for one or two at a time, it is still worth it, it still helps.

Pre-survey questionnaire

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Q: I’m not sure if the plant I want to surveys is crop or non crop.

Generally, if you can eat it, it’s considered a “crop” for WiBee. This means food plants whether in a garden or field.

Q: What are the definitions of the non-crop habitats? 

  • Lawn: turf, short grassy area often containing dandelion, white clover, or creeping charley
  • Prairie/grassland: large area of grassland or prairie plants
  • Woodland: stand of trees or a forest. Generally not ornamental trees though they may be mixed in.
  • Road/field edge: generally strips of patches of land near crop or road, may include weedy species.
  • Ornamental garden: any planting of flowering trees, shrubs or flowers, including native flowers, intended for enjoyment or beauty.

Q: How do I classify my garden under “Management types”?

We realize the management types in our list are more easy applied to crop fields, so below are garden-specific definitions.

  • “Conventional”-regular use of fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, such as MiracleGro or aphid sprays etc. Used several times per year.
  • “Organic”-using organic alternatives to fertilizers, pest management or herbicides such as compost, safer soap sprays for aphids or netting.
  • “Low spray”-Using some conventional management methods but very occasionally for specific issues. Maybe once or twice a season.
  • “No Spray”-Not doing much management at all beyond weeding and watering.

Pollinator identification

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Q: Do I classify ants or beetles or butterflies as non-bees? 

Yes, if they land on the flower. There are many kinds of pollinators, and for this project if they are not bees we are just combining them into one category.