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Biodiversity Blog


UT Spring Bee Competition 2023. We have a winner!

Osmia ribifloris bee
 USDA Photo by Jack Dykinga

We're pleased to announce we have a winner for the UT Spring Bee Competition! The winner is Caroline Chessher ('22) who collected a male Osmia on Mountain Laurel flowers on campus at 1:27pm, February 13th. She will win a free wall poster: “Back Yard Bees of North America”!

The Entomology Collection holds a yearly spring bee contest. We invite members of the UT community to bring us the first Travis County mason bee of the year. If they are the first, the submitter wins a prize oriented around bees.

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.

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



Identification Resources:


This year's rules were as follows:

Eligibility: Those that submit 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:

  • Be either a collected physical specimen, or a photograph in sufficient detail to be identified, taken in Travis County, Texas, in 2023.
  • Be 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.
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