Our first bee count for the Great Sunflower Project

from cindyfriday JUN3012from cindyfriday jun3012from cindyfriday JUN3012from cindyfriday JUN3012Great Sunflower Project, a group on Flickr.

Our first count for the Great Sunflower Project — citizen scientists helping study bee behavior — was 31 bees landing on one plant with 7 flowers in 15 minutes.

On a Saturday at 10:45, it was likely in the mid-80s, with a breeze.

Our plant had so many flowers that bees were going to, that it was harder to keep up with “new” bees landing vs. the ones that were moving to another flower on the same plant. So I started counting all the bees I could see on the flowers, and then tried to watch for new ones flying into the area. I think next time we will plant our “counting” plants a little further apart so it’s easier to see new bees come in. Attaching photos of the “unknown” bees because they might be mason bees, but I’m not sure. I had never heard of mason bees until today.

Interesting that there were seldom more than 3 on a flower at once, and they seemed to fight each other or fly into each other on purpose. Also saw a couple of butterflies, and a carpenter bee.

In all we have 9 tall Lemon Queens — as in about 7 feet tall — in one area, and tomatoes in bloom and fruiting nearby. Nothing else flowering between two portable classrooms.

Note to self for the next count — bring wide-brimmed hat, something to stand on to see all the flowers, and go earlier in the morning!

Also learned how to geotag on Flickr, where the photos are posted, and it’s not so hard!


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