Introduction to the Identification of California Bees Workshop

Fri, 10/11/2019 - 09:49 -- Katja Seltmann

Introduction to the Identification of California Bees Workshop

This workshop is Sold Out!

California has a large diversity of native bees, with about 1,600 species, and many of these are locally endemic and important pollinators in most ecosystems. Bee identification is a skill that is increasingly in demand by students and professionals working as conservation biologists, pollinator ecologists, restoration ecologists, consultants, and agricultural entomologists, and few people have the knowledge and experience to provide this service (Sam Droege at USGS Bee Monitoring and Inventory Lab estimates there are roughly 10 people in the U.S. with sufficient taxonomic skills).  As research indicates, ecosystem services, like pollination, are threatened due to substantial declines in our native pollinators and other insects. Many individuals, not only university researchers, are interested in sustainable urban ecosystems and this includes providing supportive habitat and understanding our native bee species. Understanding our bees and how these declines are occurring, and the community composition of bees in our native and urban ecosystems is dependent on the ability to accurately identify the bees being collected or observed.

Although bee identification is higher in demand as interest in bees increases, learning to properly identify bees is not a simple task. Bee anatomy has many specialized structures with names unique to this group of insects, and the limited number of identification keys available, require experience to interpret the characters leading to an identification. Learning to correctly identify a specimen is facilitated with trained guidance by individuals who are well-versed in identification of specimens. This course is facilitated by an instructor who is a professional bee identifier and who was trained in the UC Berkeley Urban Bee Laboratory, and the objective is to provide students hands on experience with keys and bee identification to the family, genus and/or species level. There are no prerequisites for this workshop, however, this is an insect identification course and comfort using a microscope for long periods is essential.

  1. Students working with bee keys will provide better understanding of bee morphology and improve their ability to identify bees.
  2. Students will identify bees with the help of an expert providing greater confidence in using keys and improve their ability to identify bees.
  3. Students will learn to properly prepare collected bee specimens providing improved ability to collect data and see morphological characters, which will improve their ability to identify bees.


More Information

Instructor: Jaime Pawelek, Wild Bee Garden Design, Consultant specializing in the taxonomic identification of native bees

Fee: $200

Fee includes lunch for 2 days, a bbq on the 19th, instructor fee and supplies. We can accept payment only in the form of a check. Registration is non-refundable and must be paid prior to the workshop.

Dates: January 18-20

The course runs from 9:00am - 5:00 pm January 18, 19 and 9:00 am - 12:00 pm on January 20th. We will have a group dinner the evening of the 19th. 

Location: Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration, UC Santa Barbara Campus.

Housing: Housing is not included in the workshop.

There are great options in Goleta and Santa Barbara, with hotels near the beach or close to the workshop. Excellent camping is also available nearby at Gaviota State Park and Santa Ynez Mountains. Participants are responsible for reserving their own camping or housing for the workshop and it is advised to do so ahead of time.

Registration: Space is limited for this workshop. To register for the workshop, please email Katja Seltmann ( with Bee workshop registration in the subject line.

Other Information: This course is for all bee enthusiasts, consultants, researchers, students or anyone who wants to learn how to professionally identify bees. We will be identifying bees from pinned specimens, rather than in the field. Microscopes are provided, but you are welcome to bring your own. Bring your bees to work on during the course. Please email Katja Seltmann if you have any questions or see our schedule page.

The CCBER workshop series will continue to offer a range of natural history programs that are open to the public. These workshops typically have a taxonomic focus, and in the past we've delved into the diversity of manzanitas, California native bees, seaweeds, lichens, and grasses. The workshops are taught by experts in their field, and they have been attended by naturalists, students, and faculty from across California and beyond. Over the coming year we anticipate new workshops on native bees, ceanothus, and seaweeds, so stay tuned for details in the coming months.


Bee photos by Jeremiah Bender

Friday, October 11, 2019 - 09:45