News

Autumn 2018 Results

Thanks to Mark Hall (@linearecology) for collating the data and writing up the post for this count.

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Once more, the Wild Pollinator count was a big success thanks to all the participants who shared their observations with us. For the autumn 2018 count, we received a new autumn record of 329 submissions from 117 localities including every state and territory in Australia. It’s great to see the growing number of participants each year since the project started and what this means for the knowledge and enthusiasm for our important and diverse pollinators.

autumn 2018 map

Over 2500 insects were counted (which is again an increase from previous years – around 200 more than the last autumn count). As usual, we excluded ants from the data table, as it’s very difficult to know from observations whether ants are acting as nectar thieves rather than effective pollinators. Continue reading “Autumn 2018 Results”

Last chance to count!

This is the final weekend to contribute to the autumn 2018 Wild Pollinator Count. Thank you to everyone who has already submitted an observation. We’ve had nearly 200 observations already, from every state and territory!

Thanks also to everyone who submitted photos with their observations – you can check out some of the great snaps here. Remember, you don’t need to take a photo to submit an observation, and you can also share your photo with us on social media using the official Wild Pollinator Count hashtag #ozpollinators.

You can count right up until Sunday evening (15th April), and you will have plenty of time to submit the observation if you can’t get online immediately. The submission form will remain open until Sunday 22nd April.

Thanks again and we hope you enjoyed the autumn count!

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Autumn 2018 count begins

The autumn 2018 Wild Pollinator Count starts this weekend across Australia!

You can count pollinator insects on flowers at any time between the morning of Sunday April 8 and the evening of Sunday April 15. It only takes 10 minutes to complete a count. It could be at your home or in a park, reserve or elsewhere.

We know autumn can be a challenging time to find both flowers and insects, particularly in areas that are cool or dry. But that makes this season’s count all the more interesting – often the insects seen are quite different to those from our spring counts! Don’t forget that if you complete a count without seeing any insects we’d still like to know about it as an observation, so please do complete a submission.

As usual, the submission form will remain open for a week after the count period, in case you find it easier to count first and submit your data later. You’re welcome to complete just one count, or many!

Please follow the instructions on our How to Count page and submit your observations here. If you need help identifying the types of insects you are seeing, please have a look at our resources pages for our ID tips sheet and printable guide to pollinator insects. Rest assured it’s not necessary to be able to identify insects to species to join in; we make it way easier than that! And we’ve even noted some Wild Pollinator Count FAQ.

We invite you to share your pollinator count photos and experiences on social media. Our official hashtag is #OzPollinators, please feel free to use it, so we can see your content and share it, too!

Happy counting!

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One week to go

We hope you’ve been out spotting wild pollinators in your local area over the summer!

The autumn count is fast approaching (one week to go!). So if you participated in the spring 2017 count, this is your chance to see what’s changed in your backyard.

The next count runs from 8-15 April 2018same rules apply, watch a flower for 10 minutes on a warm sunny day and tell us what you see via the form on our website.

Also have a look at some of our previous blog posts on how to make sure your garden is an attractive spot for pollinators, especially over winter (hopefully you don’t have to go to Queensland to find some).

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Spring 2017 Results

Thank you again to everyone who counted pollinators in the seventh National Wild Pollinator Count! We’ve reached more locations in Australia this count than before. It’s wonderful to see how many people love counting pollinators. We received many comments from people noting how much they enjoyed the opportunity to relax with nature and observe the little animals we share our environment with.

This count, we received 458 observations from 126 locations around Australia – our highest number yet.

nov 2017 locactions

Participants counted over 4800 insects. And European honey bees were not the most-counted flower visitor: flies (1256 total counts) won the numbers this time! The results highlight how many non-bee insects are visiting, and often pollinating, our favourite flowers.

Insect group
Count
European honey bees 1182
Blue banded bees 108
Other native bees 820
Ladybird beetles 132
Other beetles 853
Butterflies/moths 324
Hoverflies 395
Other flies 861
European wasps 13
Other wasps 130

A total of 155 different types of plants were observed across Australia in this count. Similar to previous counts, more of these were exotic plants (58%) than native species (42%). The most commonly-watched flowering plants included common introduced garden herbs, like dandelions, borage, coriander, parsley, lavender and salvia, as well as popular natives, like grevilleas, callistemon, Wahlenbergia (native bluebells) and dianella.

The weather was a little unpredictable in many parts of Australia and, after the warmer than average winter, this may have influenced what you saw in your backyard. You can find results from previous counts here.

Hope you can join in next time, for the autumn 2018 count from 8-15 April, to see how things compare!

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Native stingless bee in a Brisbane backyard.

 

Last day to count

Thank you to everyone who has already submitted observations for the spring 2017 Wild Pollinator Count! We’ve had over 200 submissions so far, with plenty more rolling in.

Sunday November 19th is the last day to count. If you haven’t had a chance to count yet, hopefully the rest of the weekend is warm and sunny in your part of the country!

The observation form will remain open until November 25 to give you time to enter your counts. We will post the results here on the blog in early December.

Hope you found something interesting in your backyard during this count! You can join in again for the autumn count in April 2018.

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Only a few days to go!

The spring 2017 Wild Pollinator Count starts this Sunday 12 November and runs until the following Sunday 19 November. You can count pollinators anywhere in Australia, on any warm sunny during that week! Find more details on how to count here and some answers to common questions here.

We have plenty of resources to help you identify the insects you see (and remember, we don’t need to know species). Have a look at our printable brochure of common pollinators and our handy guide to distinguishing between different types of insects.

Once you’ve finished a count (you can do more than one!), please submit your observations via our online form. The form will stay open for submissions until 26 November, but we can’t accept any counts done after November 19. Results will be posted on the blog in early December.

And don’t forget you can share your photos and counting tips with us on social media using the official hashtag #ozpollinators.

Happy Counting!

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Springtime pollinators

The spring Wild Pollinator Count is on again from 12-19 November 2017. All you need to do is watch a flower for 10 minutes on any warm, sunny day during that week and submit your observations via our website. You can find the simple instructions here. And don’t forget you can use our official social media hashtag #ozpollinators to share interesting pollinator sightings and information about Australia’s wild pollinators all year round.

The pattern of seasons this year has been unpredictable, to say the least. It was the hottest winter on record for Australia, so you may have seen some pollinators out and about during the winter months, even in cooler temperate regions. Bees are lot less tolerant of cold than flies, so it’s always interesting to note if you see any native bees flying on winter days. Continue reading “Springtime pollinators”

Seeking your feedback for the Wild Pollinator Count

We’re keen to improve the Wild Pollinator Count by better understanding participants’ experiences and preferences.

Please let us know your thoughts by completing our short online survey.

It should take less than five minutes to complete.

The survey will remain open until our spring count period (12th to 19th of November 2017).

Thanks!

Autumn 2017 Results

Many thanks to Manuel Lequerica for analysing the data and writing our results post!

Once more, the Wild Pollinator count was a big success thanks to all the participants who shared their observations with us. For the autumn 2017 count, we received an autumn record of 310 submissions from 112 localities including every state and territory in Australia. For the first time, we had participants from Northern Territory, which is an exciting indicator of how much we have grown since the project started!

More than 2300 insects were counted (around 400 more than on the last autumn count). As usual, we excluded ants from the count, as they are most often nectar thieves rather than effective pollinators. Other insects and vertebrates that were recorded without making direct contact with the plants were also excluded from the count.

As usual, honey bees were the most abundant visitors, with almost 1300 occurrences, followed by all other bees. Although the number of butterflies, moths, and wasps this year was not as high as on the 2016 Autumn count, the number of blue banded bees, beetles, hoverflies, and other flies was much higher than on any of the previous Autumn counts.

For the first time, a Bumble bee was recorded in Tasmania. This exotic pollinator was introduced to the island from Europe, and until today it has not been recorded in mainland. It is important to monitor the presence of bumble bees – and other exotic species – because their potential effects on native fauna and flora could be negative.

Wild pollinator Number counted
European honey bee 1236
Blue banded bee (native) 167
Other native bee 371
Ladybird beetles 37
Butterflies and moths 115
Hoverflies 95
Other flies 174
European wasp 7
Other wasps 41

As seen in the previous Autumn counts, the proportion of native and honey bees was very different from the spring count. On this count, only 23% of the bees were native (instead of the 44% recorded during the 2016 spring count), while the remaining 77% were honey bees. This interesting pattern could be explained by either of two reasons, or an interaction of both. Firstly, many native bees prefer higher temperatures, thus their activity levels are much higher during the warmest months of the year. On the other hand, the European honey bee is adapted to more temperate climates, which allows it to remain active during the colder months of the year. Secondly, more flowers bloom during spring, which can be translated as an increase in food (nectar and pollen) availability for the native pollinators, which are adapted to the flowering patterns of Australian plants.

The number of plant species observed dropped from 180, in the spring count, to 81 on the 2017 autumn. This result reflects the decrease in floral activity as the days shorten and the temperature reduces while the southern hemisphere approaches winter. Not surprisingly, 63% of the observed plants were exotic, which may be adapted to colder climates (if they have a temperate origin) and only 30 species (the remaining 37%) were native. The most commonly observed native plants were Grevillea, Banksia, and Melaleuca; while the most frequent exotic ones included mostly culinary herbs like Basil, Rosemary, and Salvia. Despite the higher abundance of exotic plants, most native bees were observed visiting native plants, although not exclusively.

We are very pleased with the quality of the data received by the participants. Valuable annotations on weather conditions, behaviour of pollinators, and pictures complemented the basic information about pollinators and the plants they visited. Another fantastic thing to see was people submitting zero values in the count. This type of data is very valuable for us, because it helps us understand the selection criteria of insects, and allows us to make inferences on insect flower preferences.

Many thanks to everyone who participated on the 2017 autumn edition of the Wild Pollinator Count. Some of the fantastic pictures that were submitted have been uploaded to our Flickr page, so click on the link and have a look at all the astonishing diversity of winged friends and their plant allies! Stay tuned for updates, and don´t forget to check our hashtag #ozpollinators on Twitter throughout the year.

See you at the spring Wild Pollinator Count which will take place between November 12 and 19.