Utah Pollinator Pursuit
Help Us Put Pollinators on the Map
Utah is home to many diverse pollinating insects across the state. The varied landscape in the deserts, mountains, rivers, lakes and wetlands provide homes and habitat to thousands of species. In fact, Utah has more species of native bees than anywhere else in North America -- over 900 species!
We can see dozens of unique butterfly species and hundreds of moths, flies, wasps, beetles, and other pollinators visiting flowers that help keep our ecosystem diverse and functioning. These tiny animals are active at different times throughout the growing season and respond to environmental conditions like weather and availability of food and shelter.
WHY DO POLLINATORS NEED OUR HELP?
Many pollinator species are in decline across their ranges, including some of the most recognized and well-loved. The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) was once a common summertime sight in yards and meadows across the U.S., but population numbers have dropped substantially to less than 1 percent of their numbers in the 1980s. These butterflies migrate hundreds of miles between breeding habitat and overwintering sites, making them more vulnerable to threats such as lack of floral resources, extreme weather and drought, pesticides, fragmented breeding habitat, and other undetermined causes.
Bee species in Utah are also in decline. The western bumble bee (Bombus occidentalis) was once the most common species of bumble bee in western North America, yet has fallen in reported sightings by more than 40 percent, with few records across most of its central range in the last decade. Bumble bees tend to live in higher altitudes and cooler habitats, and require undisturbed ground for summer colony nests and overwintering queens. They are threatened by the use of pesticides, warming climate, and lack of floral resources and nesting sites. Utah has seen its bumble bee numbers drop across the state.
In order to make informed decisions to protect and create necessary habitat for these pollinators, we need to know what habitat they are currently using, and you can help us collect data. Information is needed on where monarchs can be found across Utah at all life stages and where bumble bees are present in higher altitude habitat throughout the state.