Friday kicks off the second annual Great Georgia Pollinator Census coordinated by University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.
The count, which takes place Aug. 21 and 22, helps researchers keep track of the overall health of the state’s pollinators.
Although there are some socially distanced events being held around the state for this year's count, organizers say it’s not too late for participants to plan on counting pollinators at home.
Census takers are asked to count pollinators on a favorite pollinator plant with abundant insect activity for 15 minutes each day using the provided observation sheet.
“The goals of the project are to gather data on pollinator insect populations, foster pollinator habitats and increase entomological literacy about these insects,” said Becky Griffin, UGA Extension school garden and pollinator census coordinator. She modeled the program on the Great Backyard Bird Count, a citizen science program run by Cornell University that asks people to count the birds they see in their backyard.
An Insect Counting and Identification Guide is available on the Great Georgia Pollinator Census website at ggapc.org that gives detailed instructions on counting and photo examples for classification, which is helpful, since there are more than 500 bee species reported in the state. Insects are categorized into one of eight categories during the observation period:
- Bumble bees
- Carpenter bees
- Small bees
- Honey bees
- Butterflies and moths
- Other insects
Those interested in counting can visit ggapc.org to sign up.
The project’s Facebook group, Georgia Pollinator Census, has grown to nearly 1,500 members and includes many educational resources including videos and files available for teachers to use in the classroom like “Honey Bee Roles.”
For more information including publications on recommended plants to attract pollinators, visit extension.uga.edu/topic-areas/timely-topics/pollinators.