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Australian Wild Pollinator Count is now on!

Australian Wild Pollinator Count is now on!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016
This week marks the fourth round of the Australian Wild Pollinator Count. The Count happens twice a year, in Autumn and in Spring, and is an opportunity for Australian's to participate in the gathering of scientific data to help to conserve the nation's vital pollinators.

Australia is home to over 1700 native bee species, as well as thousands of other pollinating insect species, including flower-visiting flies, wasps, beetles, butterflies, and moths.

While pollinators are key to the persistence of terrestrial ecosystems through their contribution to plant reproduction, many pollinators also benefit humanity more obviously, through the pollination of many of our crops. 

Caption: Lipotriches sp. bee, female. Collecting pollen from pigface. This species is a ground nesting, solitary native bee species (single females nest entirely on their own).

While European honey bees have a long and important history in providing both Australia and the world with crop pollination services when and where we want them, the more that science learns about wild, non-honey bee pollinators of crops (including native bee and fly species), the more we have realised the magnitude of the role that these wild pollinators have in our food security through the free pollination services they provide. 

In order to better understand and protect these wild pollinators, we need data. 

 

Caption: Lasioglossum sp. bee, female, collecting pollen from Dianella flower. This species is also a ground nesting, semi-social bee species.

The Wild Pollinator Count aims to gather some of this information, and engage the Australian public on pollinators and pollination in the process. 

Participating in the Wild Pollinator Count, and thus helping in this mission, is super easy!

Simply find a flowering plant in your garden; park, school, farm, or anywhere else; watch the plant for 10 minutes sometime this week; record all the pollinator insects that visit the plant during that time; and finally submit your observations to the Wild Pollinator Count website.

Easy! You don’t need to be an expert native bee, fly, or butterfly expert, just a careful observer with a keen eye.

Photos can be submitted as part of your count, and there are also photographic identification resources available on both the Wild Pollinator Count Website and on the Bee Aware Brisbane website.

So make haste, and get out there and count some pollinator to help us secure a bright future for Australia’s insect pollinators. 


Caption: Hoverfly visiting coriander flowers. Hoverflies (also called Syrphid flies or Flower flies) are the second most important pollinator group globally, after bees.

For detailed instructions on how to count, and everything else you need, visit the Wild Pollinator Count website https://wildpollinatorcount.com/ And for help with native bee identification in SE QLD, visit Bee Aware Brisbane http://www.beeawarebrisbane.org/

By Dr Tobias Smith – Bee Aware Brisbane/University of Queensland

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