Essig Museum of Entomology

Bee-laboring the Point: Berkeley Researchers and Volunteers Track Native Pollinators

Halting mid-sentence, UC Berkeley entomologist Gordon Frankie swings a net towards a flowering beardtongue plant. He reaches into the net and pulls out a wool-carder bee. Holding it between three fingers, he offers it to the volunteers of the Sonoma Bee Count. “Do you see the horns on the tip of the abdomen? That’s clearly a male. Who wants to hold it?” All four volunteers bravely step forward to take it (male bees are unable to sting). “We were the first group to record this guy in California about six years ago,” says Frankie.

Citizentomology

California is positively crawling with insects, and entomologists have been collecting them for a long time. UC’s Essig Museum of Entomology, for example, has 6.5 million specimens. Similar hordes are housed at other museums and university campuses; altogether, between 30 to 35 million bugs have been preserved for posterity in the state’s major collections.

Subscribe to Essig Museum of Entomology