Welcome to Beesearch.org!  We have emerged from the ashes of a spectacular host flameout, and I believe we may actually go live.

The Search for the Western Bumblebee

When I first registered “Beesearch.org”, some friends and I were kicking around the idea of searching the wilds of the western states for the suddenly-elusive Western Bumblebee, and making a documentary film about the whole thing.

We had no idea that I’d wind up finding the darn thing in my own back yard (give or take a few miles.)

It’s been an interesting ride since then.  The discovery got some press, the press led to more people finding more bees, and the story turned out to be more interesting than we had ever hoped.

We thought we were composing an elegy.  Instead, we may be looking at something closer to a resurrection.

It may not be a movie, but this blog will be my journal as we try to figure out what’s going on.  I hope it will be worth following.



Bigfoot of the bumblebee world

We are just getting started.  (I mean that literally: as I write this, the site is less than two days old, and about twelve hours – I hope! – from going live.)  Here’s what to expect over the next few weeks.

Site updates

We’re going to keep making improvements to the site.  As you can see from the virtual construction dust, there’s still plenty to do.

The first thing on the list is a decent feedback form, so you can tell me about the other missing things with a minimum of effort.

(One thing that is missing from the update list is support for graphical smileys.  If I had them, I’d have been tempted to use one just now, and I don’t think anyone wants that.)


The only way to gather the data that we need is to hit the road and catch some bees… wherever they are.  Most of the new populations appear to be in the Pacific Northwest, but we have credible reports of Western bumblebees from New Mexico to Alaska.  In order to understand what has changed in the Northwest, we need to sample as many local populations as possible.

We’re going to need a lot of gas.

To that end, we’re going to start work on a Kickstarter campaign.  Expect more news about that within a couple of weeks.

Bee of the Week

We can’t really expect to discover something earth-shaking every week, so we’re going to add some regular features to give you all a reason to keep coming back.

The picture that started it all

The first feature will be the Bee of the Week.  Every week, I’ll post a photograph of a native bee, along with something about it that is interesting to me: the behavior of the species, the plants it was visiting, the location where it was found, or just the process of identifying a bee from a photograph.  (Yes, there are lots of cases where even a sharp photo is not enough to narrow an ID down to a single species.)

The first two Bees of the Week are in this post.  If you want to hear their story, come back next week!

Bug of the Week

I find a lot of six-legged critters while I’m out searching for bees.  Not all of them qualify for the Bee of the Week, but a lot of them are worth talking about.  I’ll post one every week, either because there’s something interesting about it or where it was found, or just because I like the photo.

(No, they’re not all Hemiptera.  I’m calling them “Bug of the Week” because I cannot resist the alliteration.)

That’s not all, folks

We have quite a few ideas for new material, and there are lots of things left to say (about the Xerces Society, the Urban Pollination Project, the USDA, the National Park Service, our volunteers from the UW… the list goes on.)

Watch this space!

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1 comment

  • Will Peterman

    posted by Will Peterman

    Thursday, 13 February 2014 16:01

    Time to test comments! Here's an update to the update section: "fix image loading in IE8". Apparently there's a loose bit of CSS somewhere that's causing it to display images REALLY BIG, among other weird things.

    Hey, it all worked on the *first* four browsers I tested...

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