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Osmia Phenology Project

Please join us in this scientific study to understand the impact of climate change and other factors on nest timing and geographic distribution in the lovely group of native bees known as Osmia (pronounced OZ-mee-uh).

Photograph by John Ascher
Osmia avosetta Warncke, 1988


Most bees in the genus Osmia come out in the Spring, nest in holes in wood (or in our case cardboard tubes), and mature to adults by the Fall. The patterns of when they complete their nests appears to be strongly related to available nectar and pollen from local plants. Thus, they may provide a window into both how bees and flowering plants are doing in the local environment.

The Osmia Phenology Project (OPP) is a trial project designed to test how a network of individuals of Osmia nestwatchers can contribute information about climate change through watching when bees make their nests. This project is based on past work by Wayne Esaias and his network of honeybee hive watchers( need link ) who evolved the basic protocol. You can see their results from last year NEED LINK.

This project is designed to involve students, families, naturalists, nature centers, and researchers. The students in the Mt. Vernon area of Fairfax County public schools are spearheading trials in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area and are encouraging others to join us. We can provide a limited number of nesting tubes to those who contacts us early. See the details page for more information.

Certainly better looking Osmia nesting clusters can be created that the ones we have in our protocol, but we are looking for nesting structures that can be made from recycled material on hand that are appropriate for middle-schoolers on up to their great-grandparents. Feel free to embelish the nest structures, but remember that we need to be able to see the number of each nesting tube in the picture.

Discover Life provides ways to help identify and analyze what you find. After you study and ask questions at your own site, you can also compare your data to those collected at other Discover Life study sites.

Updated: 22 March, 2010
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