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Biodiversity Blog


The UT Spring 2024 Bee Competition


Bring us the first Travis County mason bee of 2024, you’ll win a copy of the poster “Backyard Bees of North America”!

Rationale: One measure of our changing climate is the shifting dates of emergence of our earliest spring flowers and insects. As Texas warms, some of our local bees may start coming out earlier in the year, and the Biodiversity Center would like to encourage you to help keep watch for the first bee activity of the year.

Osmia are solitary, robust metallic blue/green bees that provision mud nests with pollen to raise their offspring, and they are among the first seasonally-active spring insects around Austin. They are easily seen on redbuds and other early blooming trees.

Identification Resources:


Eligibility: You must be formally affiliated as student, faculty, staff, volunteer, or alumnus with the UT College of Natural Sciences to participate.

Criteria: To be considered for this contest, the submissions must:

  1. Be either a collected physical specimen, or a photograph in sufficient detail to be identified, taken in Travis County, Texas, in 2024.
  2. Be of a bee in the genus Osmia.
  3. Accompanied by the time and date of collection, geographic (latitude/longitude) coordinates in decimal degrees to 3 decimal places, your name, and a current email address.

The winning entry will be judged by UT Entomology Curator Alex Wild as the entry received with the earliest chronological time and date of collection and observation, as judged by field notes or photographic metadata.

Send your submission to alex[dot]wild[at]utexas.edu with the subject line "Spring bee."

The Prize: a wall poster featuring professional-quality photographs of some of our most abundant local bees: https://www.beesinyourbackyard.com/product-page/backyard-bees-of-north-america-poster

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