Did you know Vermont has more than 300 species of wild bees? Since 2019, the Vermont Bee Survey has been exploring every nook and cranny of the Green Mountain State to document our ever changing bee fauna. Many species remain to be found and others haven't been seen in decades.
Before we started, a checklist of species did not exist for the state, making it very difficult to know whether Vermont’s bee populations are healthy or declining. The Vermont Wild Bee Survey represents the first step in assessing bee populations across the state. Starting in 2019, volunteers and project staff intensively surveyed Chittenden County, amassing thousands of specimens, including dozens of species never before recorded in Vermont. 2020 and 2021 will take us around the rest of the state. We are also in the process of identifying bees in the major insect collections in Vermont, including the ones at UVM, Middlebury College, and the Fairbanks Museum.
VTBees’ main objectives are to:
- Obtain a baseline of bee distribution at the beginning of this century for comparison to historic and future data.
- Curate and share all historic and current bee records from Vermont in an open data portal via the Vermont Atlas of Life (VAL) and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF).
- Assess the conservation status and needs of Vermont bee species.
- Identify habitats of statewide and regional importance.
- Educate and involve more people in the discovery and protection of Vermont’s natural heritage.
Yet there is still a lot to learn about which species are in Vermont and how they fit into the pollination networks of the state, work that will have to continue long after VTBEES. To learn more about what we have found and how you can help, check out this guide to the bees of Vermont we are building.
VTBees is a project of the Vermont Atlas of Life at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies in partnership with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and Stone Environmental with collaboration from the University of Vermont Gund Institute for the Environment. Financial support has been provided by a State Wildlife Grant from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, the Kelsey Trust, the Sarah K. deCoizart Article Tenth Perpetual Charitable Trust, and generous contributions from Vermont Center for Ecostudies supporters.