Frequently Asked Questions
Who can participate in the census?
The census is designed for citizens of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina of all ages to participate. We encourage school groups, gardeners, families and individuals to be a part of the project. You do not need to be an entomologist to partake; we ask for only basic insect identification into these categories:
- Bumble bees
- Carpenter bees
- Honey bees
- Small bees
- Other Insects
We also offer the 2023 Insect Counting and Identification Guide online to provide more insights to help participants prepare.
When is the census?
This year’s census takes place on August 18th and 19th, 2023
How do participants count?
You will be asked to choose a favorite pollinator plant – a plant from your garden that shows insect activity, for example – for counting. You should count and identify the insects that land on the flowers of that plant for 15 minutes. To make sure your counts are included in our database, visit this website again after counting where you will find a pop-up prompting you to add your information.
Do I count every time an insect lands on the plant, even though I know that insect has been on the plant earlier?
Yes, we are technically counting insect visits, not just the number of insects, so be sure to count each time any insect lands on your plant – regardless of whether it’s been there before.
What if my plant is too large for me to get accurate counts?
Choose a part of the plant to use for counting, maybe 2 feet by 2 feet, that you feel comfortable getting accurate counts.
Can I participate more than once during the two-day counting period?
Is this event an appropriate project for K-12 schools doing STEAM work?
Yes, we have lesson plans and ideas for teachers which can be found in our educator resources.
What about businesses? Can they participate?
Yes, some companies encourage their employees to count as part of the company outreach. Other businesses, like restaurants and breweries, make an event of the count, asking their clients to join. Businesses can also build a small pollinator garden in their space or plant pollinator-attracting plants in their existing spaces.
Here are some ways businesses can participate:
- Set aside time during the workday for your employees to count as part of your company’s public outreach policy.
- Have a special lunch for employees and their families with pollinator-based food such as watermelon salsa, apple salad, etc.
- Create an event for customers or clients to come to your business for insect counting (we can help your promote the event on the website!).
- Make sure you are comfortable with the Census counting criteria using materials from the Census website (https://GSePC.org). Maybe do a practice count or two.
- Tour your garden space noting plants that will be blooming during the Census dates and can be used for counting. Consider labeling these plants with plant names for participant use.
- Use the insect mascots and graphics available on the website (https://GSePC.org) under the “educators” tab for your flyers, stickers, social media promotion, etc. These can also be used to create signs for event parking and directions while on property.
- Download the Insect Counting and Identification Guide as well as the Counting for the Census PowerPoint presentation available on the website homepage and under the “educators” tab. Consider printing a few copies of the Guide for use on counting days. Use the PowerPoint with your participants if appropriate.
- Post the details about your event on the Georgia Pollinator Census Facebook page to spread the word!
- Print out counting sheets from the website. Have pencils or pens for the participants. Consider clipboards as well.
- Plan your event to show off your garden/library/brewery so that participants will want to come back after the Census is over.
- Collect counting sheets and upload to the website. You can add all counts together and just note how many people counted. You will have several days after the Census to get all counts uploaded.
- Print out the Participation Certificate and display it proudly.
How do I attract pollinators?
- Black-eyed Susan
- Butterfly milkweed
- Blue giant hyssop
- Raydon’s favorite aster
- Purple coneflower
- Dwarf tickseed
For a sample garden layout, check out this small garden space designed by landscape architect Andie Culbertson.