Have you ever wondered if the plants you have in your garden, yard, or even along the street or in your favorite nursery are the best ones for native pollinators? Why not ask them! The USGS has developed a survey to “Ask a Bumblebee” what plants, during what time of year, are the best for their needs. Here in Pennsylvania we have 18 species of native bumblebees, although some are so rare they haven’t been seen in decades and are on the endangered species list.

“Ask a Bumblebee” originated in Ohio and has a strong presence in Maryland, but they are looking to extend to all of the Northeast in order to increase the efficacy of planting recommendations as a way to help protect these incredible animals. The very first BioBlitz (BumbleBlitz!) is being held, tomorrow, Saturday July 16th to help get the word out to as many people as possible! There is a short training video available on the website (https://u.osu.edu/askabumble/) and survey sheets you can download, but even just taking the time to go outside and begin to notice these large, fluffy bees as they bumble amongst the flowers will help increase awareness of them and the plants in your community. If you would like to participate, but don’t want to sign up with the USGS and create an account, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Caitlin Miller at valleyforgeaudubon@gmail.com and she will assist with uploading both the surveys and the plant pictures (no need to try and capture active bees!)

Go out, have fun, and bee great!