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MDC encourages you to help Missouri’s bumble bees!

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Bumble bees are one of the more well-known pollinators due to their large size and loud buzz. These fuzzy fliers are critical pollinators, but sadly their populations are rapidly declining. It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of declines, but scientists suspect habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change are contributors. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), as well as the Xerces Society, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, and the University of Missouri are encouraging you to participate in community science by joining the Missouri Bumble Bee Atlas.

The Missouri Bumble Bee Atlas is a statewide community science project aimed at tracking and conserving Missouri’s native bumble bees. Participants across the state are asked to conduct bumble bee surveys and report back their findings. Survey methods are catch-and-release, so no bees are harmed, and data collection can be completed on cell phones.

By working together, the Atlas team of researchers will be able to use information submitted to assess species distribution, bumble bee population shifts, habitat associations, and more. This effort will help to better protect, restore, and manage effective habitat that can support healthy bumble bee populations.

No experience is necessary to help, and all are welcome. Participants are only asked to complete two in-depth online training sessions:

  • Session I – Tuesday, May 11 from 6-8 p.m.
    • Value of Bumble Bees
    • Bumble Bee Biology & Ecology
    • Bumble Bee Conservation
    • Introduction to the Missouri Bumble Bee Atlas
  • Session II – Thursday, May 13 from 6-8 p.m.
    • Identifying Missouri’s Bumble Bees
    • How to Participate in the Atlas
    • How to Net and Photograph Bumble Bees
    • How to Submit Findings

Registration is required to attend both workshops. Register at https://www.mobumblebeeatlas.org/events.html.

To learn more about the Missouri Bumble Bee Atlas, visit the website at https://www.mobumblebeeatlas.org/. To read more about Missouri’s native bumble bee populations, visit MDC’s website at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZKm. You can also learn about the importance of Missouri’s native bee populations and how they affect our nutrition by listening to MDC’s Nature Boost podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or on the MDC website at https://mdc.mo.gov/contact-engage/nature-boost-podcast.