In an effort to track bees, the department of biology at San Francisco State University is recruiting backyard scientists to plant sunflowers and keep track of the bees they see. From their website www.GreatSunflower.org:
By watching and recording the bees at sunflowers (or other flowers) in your garden, you can help us understand the challenges that bees are facing.
"What you need: Sunflowers (or other flowers), a place to sit comfortably, a data sheet (they provide), a pen or pencil, and a watch. You might also bring a camera. After watching, you'll need a way to check the temperature.
Here are the 5 steps:
- Set yourself up near your plant. Take a look at your garden and count how many sunflower plants are blooming. We recommend a cup of coffee or tea...
- Focus in on one plant, count and record the number of open flowers on your plant. Don't count older flowers that might not have pollen or nectar. You can tell if a flower is old by touching the center part and seeing if you finger picks up pollen.
- Write down your starting time (e.g. 10:00am)
- For each bee that visits, write own its arrival time
- Stop once you have seen five bees or 30 minutes have passed