News

How good is your wild pollinator ID?

Spring has sprung and the November Wild Pollinator Count is almost upon us! You can join in any time between 14-21 November.

If you have done a Wild Pollinator Count in the past, we would love it if you could complete this simple anonymous survey testing your identification skills relative to our standard count categories.

Click here to do the survey.

Why do the survey?

It will help you test your own identification skills (you will be provided with the answers at the end), and get you into practice for the upcoming spring count! Don’t forget to also check out our resources, including Identification Tips and Our Guide to Pollinator Insects.

It will also help us as a verification tool to assess the Wild Pollinator Count observation data you have all contributed to over the years. We are in the process of analysing the existing database of observations with the aim to publish the results in a peer reviewed journal and make the anonymised data publicly available for scientific research purposes. The survey will be important to help us provide some statistical verification for the data we analyse.

Some related news

After the November count, we will be taking a short break for a few reasons. As we’ve mentioned before, the Wild Pollinator Count is a volunteer-run unfunded project and we need a short break to focus on other work and family commitments for the immediate future.

We also need some time to analyse the data we have collected so far and contribute this valuable knowledge to the scientific community. The Wild Pollinator Count is Australia’s first and only national citizen science program focused on documenting plant-pollinator interactions, and we’re so grateful to have shared the experience of collecting this valuable data with so many of you.

But we will be back! We have lots of plans for the future, watch this space! In the meantime, please do keep watching out for wild pollinators, wherever you are.

Lesser Wanderer butterflies, Danaus petilia, by Philippa Gillett

Results are in: Autumn 2021 count

Thank you to everyone who participated in our autumn count this year. The weather during the count week was less than ideal for pollinator spotting in many parts of the country, with our great continent living up to its diverse nature! This is a great example of how unpredictable field-based science can be – the best laid plans can be dashed at the last minute by bad weather.

We received just over 580 usable records this count from over 200 unique postcode locations (click on the image below to view interactively in Google Maps). Records came in from all states and territories.

Over 4,500 individual insects were observed in our count categories. Again, the European honey bee was the most commonly observed flower visitor, followed by our native bees.

Count categoryNumber of individualsPercentage of all categories
BEES – European honey bees2,28450.6%
BEES – Blue-banded bees1804.0%
BEES – Other bees77817.2%
BEETLES – Ladybird beetles581.3%
BEETLES – Other beetles410.9%
BUTTERFLIES and MOTHS4149.2%
FLIES – Hoverflies2756.1%
FLIES – Other flies3648.1%
WASPS – European wasps831.8%
WASPS – Other wasps350.8%

Most of the flowering plants that were observed were exotic (67%), with the remainder being native (33%). Similar to other counts, this is likely because many people are doing counts in their gardens where we tend to find a higher proportion of exotic plants.

Only a few records were not able to be included in our data, as they didn’t meet the reporting requirements – the most common issues were counts that entered estimated numbers in the categories (e.g. ‘over 100’) instead of actual counts, and counts that observed multiple flowers or whole sections of a garden, rather than focusing on a single plant species.

Thank you again, we really appreciate you participating and hope you enjoyed counting as much as we did!

Check out the photo gallery from this count, with thanks to people who gave us permission to share their photos showcasing our diverse backyard pollinating insects. You can also find our project on iNaturalist as usual – and don’t forget you can continue adding your iNat pollinator observations to our project year round.

Look forward to seeing you again next count!

Lesser Wanderer butterflies, Danaus petilia, by Philippa Gillett

Submission form closes Sunday

Thank you to everyone who joined in the Wild Pollinator Count last week!

Just a reminder the submission form will remain open until this Sunday 25 April to give you time to enter your observations – remember we can only accept counts conducted during the count week 11-18 April.

Once the submission form closes, we will start cleaning and collating the data. Results will be posted here sometime in May!

The Spring 2021 count will run again in November.

Thanks for counting!

Last chance to count

Autumn Wild Pollinator Count finishes this Sunday April 18, so it’s your last chance to do a count this weekend! Thank you to everyone who has contributed a count already.

As usual, we will leave the submission form open for one week, to allow you time to get your counts submitted. But remember, we can only accept counts that were done during the count week 11-18 April.

After submissions close on April 25, we will start collating the data and hope to have results posted by end of May.

Thanks for joining in and happy pollinator counting!

Photo: Virginia Shepherd

Time to count!

Autumn Wild Pollinator Count starts now – you can join in any time between Sunday 11 and Sunday 18 April.

If you’re new to the count, read this page to find out the standardised method you need to follow to do a count. It’s simple to do and only takes 10 minutes!

Once you’ve done a count, you can submit your observations here. You can do as many individual counts as you want within the count week, but each one should be submitted on a seperate form.

Check out our resources page for identification tips and resources, including an updated version of our Pollinator ID guide (thanks to Victorian Department of Environment Land Water and Planning).

Happy counting!

Photo: Eric Sinclair

Citizen science research published

Last year, we asked our Wild Pollinator Count network to contribute to some research conducted by colleagues in Germany, looking at why people participate in biodiversisty citizen science programs and what they gain from it.

The research has now been published in the British Ecological Society journal People and Nature. Survey respondents reported positive changes in all the target outcomes, including environmental behaviours and scientific interest and knowledge. The paper is open access, and you can read it here:

Biodiversity citizen science: Outcomes for the participating citizens

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this research – out of more than 60 different projects around the world, Wild Pollinator Count recorded the second highest number of respondents to the survey!

Autumn 2021 count

Wild Pollinator Count time has rolled around again. The autumn 2021 count runs from 11-18 April.

This has been another challenging summer in many parts of Australia, with fires on the west and floods on the east, so you may see a change in your local pollinators. Hope you are all safe.

During the count week, you just need to take 10 minutes to watch a flowering plant and count the numbers of different flower visitors you see. Find out more about How to Count here. Remember, you should only watch a single flowering plant – we cannot accept observations that have observed multiple different plants at once within a garden.

Submit your observations via our easy online form here on the website.

You can connect with us on social media via our hashtag #WildPollinatorCount, or #Ozpollinators.

Happy counting!

Spring 2020 results are here!

It took us a little longer than usual to collate results this year, for understandable reasons! It’s been a challenging year, and we hope you’re all keeping safe and well.

The spring count happened 8-15 November 2020. We received just over 1000 submitted observations (1028 usable records, 18 were removed for incomplete data) representing over 12,000 insects! This is a drop from our all-time submissions record in autumn 2020 (in the midst of the first COVID lockdowns!), but still well above last spring’s count. Thank you to all who participated during what has been a difficult year for all of us.

Continue reading “Spring 2020 results are here!”

Spring 2020: Last chance to count

There’s still time! Spring Wild Pollinator Count finishes this Sunday 15 November.

The submission form will remain open until next weekend, to give you plenty of time to get your counts submitted. But we won’t be able to include any counts done after Sunday evening.

We will post a results summary here on the blog before the end of the year.

Hope you enjoyed taking 10 minutes with nature!

Photo: Merrilyn Smith

Time to count!

Spring 2020 Wild Pollinator Count starts Sunday 8th November. You have until Sunday 15th November to do a count. You can do as many 10 minute counts as you want, any time during the count week, from anywhere in Australia!

Find out How to Count here. Remember, each count must focus on one flowering plant. Find out more about the science behind our method on our FAQ page. You don’t need to take photos to submit a count, but you’re welcome to share them with us if you do – you can do this via email or via our iNaturalist project page.

If you’re new to identifying different types of flower visitors, check out our handy tips and online resources, incluidng our handy guide to some of the most common insect groups you will see (free to download!).

All counts must be submitted via our online form. The form will stay open after the end of the count week, to give you plenty of time to submit.

Hope you enjoy the spring, stay safe and happy counting!

Photo: Merrilyn Smith