Department of

Entomology News

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Calling all pollinator fans: University of Illinois seeks citizen scientists

For the second year, University of Illinois Extension is calling all lovers of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators that keep our crops and gardens growing to join scientists in tracking their distribution and habitat use across the state.

Potential volunteers may register to join the online webinar to be held at 1:30 p.m. May 7, then gather critical information on pollinators in Illinois from the safety of their home.

I-Pollinate is a citizen-science research initiative through the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign with support from Illinois Farm Bureau. Volunteers can join up to three research projects: planting a “study” garden to observe which ornamental flowers pollinators prefer, tracking monarch butterfly egg and caterpillar abundance, or recording bumblebee and honeybee sightings to help create accurate distribution maps for Illinois.

The results may help declining insect populations, including critical pollinators of crops and flowering plants. Previous research has estimated that 40 percent of all insect species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades, a decline driven primarily by habitat loss.

These at-risk species include the monarch butterfly. I-Pollinate volunteers gather critical data that David Zaya, Illinois Natural History Survey, uses for monarch conservation research.

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Publication Date: 05/12/2020
Editor: Kelly Allsup