(Entomology Today) Entomology outreach is an essential part of inviting the public to learn about and engage with insects. Frequently, graduate students are at the forefront of engaging the public in this field. However, not every graduate student is prepared to interact with a pre-entomologist, nor are they convinced that this is an important activity. Here is a beginner’s guide to initiating outreach.
(Quad-City Times) Amy Loving was working at Davenport’s Nahant Marsh Education Center, taking photos of bees and other insects buzzing around the building in preparation for an upcoming program. Spotting a bee in some white clover, she crouched down to get a shot. Back inside the center some time later, she was scrolling through her images when suddenly she felt her heart begin to race. One of her pictures showed a bee with a rusty patch in its yellow backside.
(Twitter, Gratton Lab @GrattonLab) “Since April 1, our WiBee citizen scientists have already submitted over 500 bee surveys! We’ve just launched a public Data Dashboard for anyone interested in wild bees to explore the data. It’s a work in progress, but we couldn’t wait to share it: data-viz.it.wisc.edu/wibee/“
(York University) Think you can identify that bumble bee you just took a photo of in your backyard? York University researchers have found that a little more than 50% of community science participants, who submitted photos to the North American Bumble Bee Watch program, were able to properly identify the bee species. “Accurate species level identification is an important first step for effective conservation management decisions. Those community science programs that have experts review submitted photos to determine if the identification is correct have a higher scientific value.”
(Wired) Without a DNA sequencer, two Los Angeles entomologists relied on two of biology’s oldest tools: microscopes and lots of free time. Sifting through thousands of insects previously collected via a citizen science project, they ended up discovering nine new species of small flies. “It definitely makes me appreciate what scientists of the past were able to accomplish with rudimentary tools. I don’t have an ergonomic chair at home; I don’t have a fancy microscope. We are all feeling appreciation for things we take for granted.”
(Twitter, Nebraska Bumblebee Atlas @NEbumblebees) “We need a few more volunteers in the green areas to help survey for bumble bees this summer! Lookin’ at you #NorthPlatte”
(Orlando Sentinel) A new app called Lawn to Wildflowers from the University of Central Florida’s College of Sciences offers a guide on how to transform a yard into a home for bees, butterflies and other pollinators.