Help collect data

There are many questions we still need to answer about bees and you can contribute to efforts to gather data to answer these questions.

Honey bees

If you are a beekeeper, help us monitor mite loads by participating in Mite Check 

Bumble bees

If you live in or want to visit the Twin Cities, help us monitor bumble bee communities by participating in the MN Bumble Bee Survey

If you are anywhere in MN, you can help us monitor bumble bees by taking a class and adopting a bumble bee route for the MN Bee Atlas

If you are anywhere in North America, pick up your camera and share photos of bumble bees with the Bumble Bee Watch app for you phone or web app.

Cellophane bees

Bee face peeking out of tunnel in soil

Keep your eyes open for Colletes inaequalis! Researchers at the UMN Bee Lab are curious about where these spring-emerging bees are nesting in and around the Twin Cities metro area. If you see nests while walking around the parks in Ramsey, Hennepin, Washington, Dakota, and Anoka counties this spring, please let us know. Of course, we value your health and wellbeing and ask that you minimize risk of spreading covid-19 by avoiding crowded parks and trails. 

What to look for:

  • About the same size as honey bees
  • Heart-shaped faces
  • Mostly found in sparsely vegetated areas
  • Groups of bees flying low to the ground near open holes and not visiting flowers
  • Nest mounds resemble ant nests but have larger entrance holes
  • Nest in groups on south-facing, sandy slopes

Piles soil along sandy slope

Piles in sandy soil with wide openings

Share your finds. Think you've found Colletes? Take pictures of the bee and the nest, and record your observation in iNaturalist. If you think you've found a nest but you don't see any bees, please take a photo and send it along with location info to

Questions about the Colletes project? Contact Julia Brokaw at

All pollinators

Monitor bees and other pollinators in your garden with the Great Sunflower Project

In you are anywhere in the world, share photos with iNaturalist to help us track distributions and phenologies of pollinators.