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Plan Bee: Volunteer ‘citizen scientists’ needed to help count Iowa’s bees

In the face of bee population declines, local citizen scientists can help identify species in one of Iowa’s tallgrass prairies. The National Park Service is seeking volunteers to join “Plan Bee” on Saturday, August 18th at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in West Branch. Participants will assist park staff and scientists in catching, photographing, and releasing bees unharmed. […]

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Iowa’s dwindling bee population is part of a larger, frightening trend

Deep in the belly of the Vermeer Science Center at Central College in Pella, Iowa, cardboard boxes are stacked against the wall in a dimly lit laboratory. The boxes contain thousands of bees — carefully preserved and meticulously categorized based on their Latin genus and species — each with a unique tale to tell. Some are as small as a gnat; others are the size of a cockroach. Their colors span the spectrum, too, from rich, reflective blues to the familiar striped yellow and black of the common honey bee. Paulina Mena, an associate professor of biology, is their veritable warden. […]

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