Summit Metro Parks is asking the public for help spotting a rare species.
The rusty-patched bumble bee, once common in Northeast Ohio, has recently been listed as endangered and hasn’t been spotted here since 1998.
The Summit Metro Parks collaborated with Ohio State University, Cleveland Metroparks and Cuyahoga Valley National Park to create the Ohio Bees Atlas Project.
They’re using a website called “iNaturalist” where citizen scientists can upload photos of bees.
Pollinator expert Randy Mitchell says scientists are searching for any remaining population of the endangered bee.
“It’s a citizen-scientist thing where we’re hoping we can find them. Once we find them, or find out that they’re not here, then we can figure out what to do. But until we figure out whether they’re around, we’re sort of not even at the starting gate.”
Summit Metro Parks Biologist Marlo Perdicas says with a broader community searching, it’s possible the species could be found.
Perdicas and Mitchell will be holding a workshop next week at Cuyahoga Valley National Park to show people how to use the website and the important role bees play in the environment.