Oregon’s bumble bees are all hibernating. Mated bumble bee queen are known to winter in loose soil or leaf litter, but we don’t know much more beyond that. This week we talk with Rich Hatfield about a new community science initiative called Queen Quest, to learn more about the wintering requirements of bumble bees. We also catch up with Rich about BOMBUSS 2.0 (a bumble bee conference held last month in Toronto), Year 2 of the PNW Bumble Bee Atlas and the launch of a new bumble bee Atlas in Nebraska.
Rich Hatfield is a senior conservation biologist for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. He has authored several publications on bumble bees, including a set of management guidelines entitled Conserving Bumble Bees. He serves as the Red List Authority for the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Bumble Bee Specialist Group and has taught bumble bee management and identification courses in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, and Massachusetts. Rich helped develop and launch the citizen science website Bumble Bee Watch, which has attracted over 18,000 users throughout North America, and gathered over 30,000 photo observations of North American bumble bees since 2014. Bumble Bee Watch now serves as the platform to collect data for the Pacific Northwest Bumble Bee Atlas for which he is the principal investigator. In addition to his work with bumble bees, Rich has investigated native bee pollination in agricultural systems in the Central Valley of California, and studied endangered butterflies in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and throughout the Pacific Northwest.