Abstract

During 2017 and 2018, gardeners at 36 locations across 21 Georgia counties volunteered to be part of the Georgia Pollinator Census project. The goals of the project were to generate a snapshot of pollinator population data while educating gardeners about the importance of pollinators and other beneficial insects and assisting schools with science, technology, engineering, art, and math programming. Effective insect identification training and on-going support were crucial parts of this citizen science project. Insect counting was conducted in September and October on an aster species and another plant species chosen by the participants. Twenty-eight plant taxa were chosen by participants to be frequently visited by pollinators. Analysis of the data indicates a higher number of sightings of bumble bees, Bombus spp. Latrelle (Hymenoptera: Apidae); honey bees, Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae), and wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) in rural areas and a higher number of sightings of carpenter bees, Xylocopa spp. Latrelle (Hymenoptera: Apidae); flies (Diptera); and “other insects” (e.g., those that did not fall into any of the other seven categories) in urban areas. We also saw an increase in entomological interest among the participants as well as an increase in insect knowledge. This pilot project was used to refine criteria for a larger state-wide census.

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