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Biodiversity Blog


UT Spring Bee Competition

519px Osmia ribifloris bee
 USDA Photo by Jack Dykinga

We have a winner! Katie Elston is the winner of the UT Spring Bee competition.

This competition was for submitting the first Travis County mason bee of 2021 to win a copy of the book “The Bees In Your Backyard”!

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 likes to encourage folks 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 have been considered for this contest, the submissions must have:

  • Been either a collected physical specimen, or a photograph in sufficient detail to be identified, taken in Travis County, Texas, in 2021.
  • Been of a bee in the genus Osmia.
  • Accompanied by the time and date of collection, geographic (latitude/longitude) coordinates to 3 decimal places, your name, and a current email address.
  • Emailed a photo of your sample (alex[dot]wild[at]utexas.edu) with the subject line "Spring bee."

The winning entry was 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.

The Prize: one new paperback copy of Wilson & Carril (2015) The Bees in Your Backyard: https://press.princeton.edu/books/paperback/9780691160771/the-bees-in-your-backyard

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