Ohio program trains ‘citizen scientists’ to search for bumblebees

This 2012 photo provided by The Xerces Society shows a rusty patched bumblebee in Minnesota. Federal officials said Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, that the rusty patched bumblebee has become the first bee species in the continental U.S. to be declared endangered after suffering a dramatic population decline over the past 20 years. (Sarina Jepsen/The Xerces Society via AP)

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A new program will train Ohio residents to identify and document bumblebees, now an endangered species.

Participants in the Ohio Bee Atlas use an online program to record their findings.

University of Akron biology professor Randy Mitchell tells the Akron Beacon Journal that extra eyes will be helpful in surveying the population.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the rusty patched bumblebee was once widespread in prairies, woodlands, marshes, fields, parks and gardens in Ohio.

Habitat loss, disease, pesticides, farming and climate change have contributed to the population decline.

Partners in the Ohio Bee Atlas include Summit Metro Parks, the University of Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cleveland Metroparks, the Lake Erie Allegheny Partnership for Biodiversity, Ohio State University and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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