To sign up to be on our email list, become a Bee Watcher, and help us learn more about bees in New York City, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although we are no longer collecting data for the Great Pollinator Project, there are still some gaps in our knowledge about local native bees. If you are able to make observations or see interesting bees, let us know.
Bee Watcher Research Projects
We are in need of some bee records for NYC that can be found on certain plant species. If you find any of the species in question, take a photo and send in the information. Or, if you do not have a camera, let us know exactly where the particular plant is in bloom and we’ll visit the site and see what we can find. See below for details:
1. Thistle observations
Some bees of interest visit thistle species (Cirsium sp.), including a new introduced species with conspicuous yellow markings (see article). We would like to know what species are around in NYC and where they are found. If you find thistle (any variety) growing where you live or other nearby locales, please photograph the bees you see on the thistle plants. Photographs needed: closeup of bees on the thistle, and photo of plant itself for ID purposes. If you get a good photograph a bee different than a honey bee, bumble bee, or large carpenter bee, send it in to Bugguide for identification or a Discoverlife image database, and then report to beewatchers with this information along with the data from the site visit. Data should include date and exact location.
2) Wool Carder Bee (Anthidium manicatum)
We need records of this bee from Staten Island. Look for this bee visiting lambs ear or other woolly-leaved plants.
3) Leaf-cutter Bee (Anthidium oblongatum)
This bee has not yet been documented from Manhattan. It gathers nectar and pollen from birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) and rock sedum. If you find these plants in bloom and see this bee, please take a photo, collect a specimen or let us know where in bloom so we can visit.
4) Squash Bees (Peponapsis pruinosa)
We are missing squash bee records from Manhattan. If you find this bee in your squash blossoms (pumpkins, melons, zucchini etc.), please photograph and send in the information to us at email@example.com or let us know where squash is in bloom and we’ll come check. Squash bees visit open blooms in the morning only, until the squash blooms close for the day. Learn more about squash bees.
5) Hibiscus (Mallow) Bees (Ptilothrix bombiformis)
These uncommon bees have not yet been documented from Manhattan. If you have or see mallow (any species) in bloom, please photograph any bumble-bee-like-bees visiting the plant (not honey bees) and send them along with exact locational information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or let us know exactly where mallow is blooming and if you think you see the bee and we can visit. Learn more about mallow bees.
6) General Bee records from Staten Island, Queens, and the Bronx
We still lack records from these boroughs for many species that are well known in better-surveyed Manhattan and Brooklyn. Please submit images to Bugguide for identification of non-bumble bee or non-carpenter or honey bees pics. As always, be sure to include date, and detailed locational information (latitude and longitude if possible).
7) Help us identify “good” pollinator plants.
We continually add to our list of plants that seem to attract the most bees or other pollinators. You can help by sending in observations about which plant species or varieties have lots of pollinator visitors. We want to know: plant species observed, primary pollinators (bees, flies, butterflies), date, location, time of day. And any other notes you think might be of interest. Photos are welcome, too. If you see a flower that is loaded with visiting pollinators, take a picture and email it to email@example.com. The most recent records include reports of honey bees on oak leaf hydrangea.
8) Where do bees nest in NYC?
Keep your eyes open for nesting bees. Look for nesting aggregations in the ground—many small holes in the soil where bees are nesting. Follow bumble bees from where they nectar to their nest location. Check shrubs with pithy stems for any bee activity. Watch any bees that are collecting leaf material from your plants and see where they go. Send in your observations (date, weather, location, description, and photo if you can get one).