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BC Bee Atlas


iNaturalist is an online social network of people sharing biodiversity information, which began as a research project in 2008. By 2014 over a million observations had been made and the number of observations has approximately doubled each year since. As of Jan 2023, iNat had 2.3 million users and around 160 million observations of plants, animals, and other organisms from around the world with well over 100 million verified results.

How we use iNaturalist for the Bee Atlas

Collecting information about the plants that bees are feeding on is central to the Bee Atlas mission. We do this using iNaturalist. After we catch a bee, we photograph the plant in the iNaturalist app from three angles, capturing the flower, the leaf and the whole plant.


The inaturalist app lets you select a suggested plant ID, and documents the location by latitude and longitude. You can then add the observation to the Master Melittologist Project to have it included in the Bee Atlas database. The plant record effectively "anchors" the bee observation to a time and place. People help accurately identify the plant species on iNaturalist, which helps it reach "research grade" status, confirming the floral host for the bee specimen that you collected. 

In addition to the Bee Atlas, NBSBC runs a Bee Tracker project on iNaturalist. No special training is needed to participate, all you have to do is go out there and capture bee pictures using the iNaturalist app.


We believe that at the core of all conservation efforts is a place of understanding, appreciation, and love for the natural world, and that is what we hope to inspire with this project. When you join this project, any bee within BC that you post in iNaturalist will be added automatically to the project and the bee will be identified by bee experts. By adding a plant association to your observation, you help build our bee-flora database, and increase our knowledge of the habits and needs of BC's native bees.

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