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Welcome to our ongoing effort to catalog citizen science and other public participation in scientific research (PPSR) projects for UC California Naturalists and other citizen scientists.  We invite you to browse the listed projects or enter key words (like birds, youth, invasive, coast, Alameda, etc.) in the search box above to find projects in your area. It's a great way to stay involved and keep developing your skills as a natural scientist!

A vast majority of the information in the database was gathered from project websites and may be out of date. We encourage you to contact projects directly to get involved and learn about most recent opportunities. If you work with a listed project and would like to add to, update, or correct the information we have, please email cghdixon@ucdavis.edu. Also, please consider filling out the "PPSR perspectives" survey. Click here to access the survey, which will help guide this project in the coming year.

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

Special thanks goes to the National Science Foundation Informal Science Education program and the Stephen J. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation for supporting this database of projects.

ZomBee Watch

  • Organization Name
    San Francisco State University Department of Biology
  • Organization Website
  • Partners
    San Francisco State University Center for Computing for Life Sciences; Natural History Museum of LA County
  • Contact Name
    N / A
  • Contact Email
    N / A
  • Contact Phone
    N / A
  • Other Contact Information
  • Project Purpose (taken from project materials)
    1. To determine where in North America the Zombie Fly Apocephalus borealis is parasitizing honey bees.
    2. To determine how often honey bees leave their hives at night, even if they are not parasitized by the Zombie Fly.
    3. To engage citizen scientists in making a significant contribution to knowledge about honey bees and to become better observers of nature.
  • Participant Activities

    1) Collect honey bees that are under your porch light in the morning, under a street light or stranded on sidewalks.

    2) If you are a beekeeper, set up a light trap near one of your hives to detect ZomBees. It's easy to make a simple, inexpensive light trap from materials available at your local hardware store.

    To test for the presence of Zombie Fly infection all you need to do is put honey bees you collect in a container and observe them periodically. Infected honey bees give rise to brown pill-like fly pupae in about a week and to adult flies a few weeks later.

    1. Look for honey bees
    2. Construct a light trap and place it near an area where you have found stranded bees or, if you are a beekeeper, near your bee hive/s.
    3. Collect stranded honey bees
    4. Store samples
    5. Monitor samples
    6. Upload information about the honey bees, including photos and observations, to the website
    7. Keep sample for later confirmation
  • Data Entry
    • Website
    • Collection Kits
    • Other
  • Other Participant Activities
    N / A
  • System Studied
    • Invertebrates
  • Geographic Scope
  • Region
    All (see 'geographic scope')
  • Location
    Wherever honey bees are found - parasitized bees have been found in Northern California and South Dakota
  • Location - Map
    1600 Holloway Ave. San Francisco, CA 94132
  • Time Commitment
    • Other (see Other Information below)
  • Volunteer Qualifications
    N / A
  • Volunteer Training

    Online data collection tutorial: https://www.zombeewatch.org/tutorial

    Online information about parasitized honey bees and flies: https://www.zombeewatch.org/theproject#about_ZomBees_and_flies_

  • Cost to Participant

    What You Will Need to Participate in ZomBee Watch:

    • Resealable containers to isolate samples of honey bees that you collect. You will need one container per sample location.
    • Tweezers or forceps to handle honey bees.
    • A pen and adhesive labels to label containers with locality and date information.
    • A notebook to take notes about your sample.
    • A smart phone or digital camera to take photos of bees, Zombie Fly pupae and adult flies.
    • A commitment to provide accurate data and to handle honey bees carefully and safely.
  • How will the findings be used?

    Data is presented on an online map, https://www.zombeewatch.org/map/public, and used by researchers at the sponsoring institutions. Publications about ZomBees are posted on the project website.

  • Other Information

    In California, parasitism begins to increase in early June and peaks in the fall and early winter months. Most records of the fly from other parts of North America (such as the Midwest and Northeast) are from late May to September, which is the most likely time that parasitism will be observed by citizen scientists in those areas.

  • Photo
    N / A
  • last update:
    N / A

If you work with this project and would like to add to or update the information below, please email cghdixon@ucdavis.edu.

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

This database is focused on projects in California focused on the environment. For opportunities outside California, as well as national projects that don't have a California-specific components, check http://www.birds.cornell.edu/citscitoolkit/projects.