Is it time for a national bee count?

The rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) is endangered throughout its range. Credit: USFWS

The Great Backyard Bird Count has helped researchers get a handle on wild bird populations. Now, scientists are organizing a similar effort for wild bees. The U.S. National Native Bee Monitoring Research Coordination Network is an effort conducted at institutions across the country and supported by the Agriculture Department to train the public to watch for wild bees.

“While regional studies have tracked the decline of native bees, there hasn’t been a coordinated nationwide effort to monitor these pollinators,” S. Hollis Woodard, an entomologist at the University of California, Riverside, told the New York Times.

Woodward is a lead author on a paper published in Biological Conservation calling for a monitoring program.

“North America has more than 4,000 bee species, yet we have little information on the health, distribution and population trends of most of these species,” the authors write.

Read more from the New York Times.