Submit Data

You can submit your photos through Bumble Bee Watch, a collaborative effort coordinated by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation to track and conserve North America’s bumble bees, or through iNaturalist, a global citizen science platform.

Video tutorials on how to:
1. Create an account on iNaturalist or (we find iNaturalist easier to use, but whichever works for you!)
2. Submit your photos using the mobile app for iNaturalist or BBW (what we like about iNaturalist is that if you have your geolocation information on, it will automatically read the data from your uploaded photo, no need to find your location on a map; and any observations from locations within our nine county area of Southwest Michigan will automatically be added to the iNaturalist project)
3. Submit your photos using the computer website for iNaturalist or BBW

When submitting through the BBW website, you can tag your photos as part of the “Southwest Michigan Bee Watch” project. To do this, either select the project from the drop down list at the bottom of the “Record a Sighting” page, or set the project as your default by first going to “My Profile” in the top-right of the page once you sign in, selecting “Edit” in the top left above your profile picture, and then scrolling to the bottom and selecting “Southwest Michigan Bee Watch” from this dropdown list of projects. Doing this will help us keep track of your submissions to our project.

When submitting through iNaturalist, you can join the Southwest Michigan Bee Watch project and tag submissions as part of this project, or simply enable location services while taking photos and iNaturalist will automatically include your SWMichigan bumble bee photos in our project.

How to submit a sighting

Step 1

Take a photo of your bumble bee.

Step 2


Log in and submit your photo.

Step 3

4 bumble bee drawings

Identify your species.

Step 4

check mark

Sighting will be verified by an expert.

What happens after I submit my data?

Your submissions will be immediately visible to others on the site and we will be able to access your submissions for our project. Bumble Bee Watch and iNaturalist are great platforms because they collect data on observations nationwide. This way, volunteers will be able to participate in citizen science across the US (and Canada), and view what others have submitted in a particular area, allowing all to understand what bumble bee species diversity and abundance looks like in the region.

Female bombus impatiens pollinating white clover