Things to bring with you

Not sure what supplies you need to successfully complete your bumble bee surveys? Here is a completed list of everything you should bring with you on your surveys. 

If obtaining necessary survey materials is a barrier for you, please contact We have put together a survey kit that can be checked out by individuals that need assistance in getting survey materials. 

Paper maps

Paper maps can help you to mark out your grid and ensure your safety during your survey. 


A camera (ideally with a macro lens) or a smartphone is needed for photographing bees during the survey process. There are several apps available for both iPhone and Android that can enhance your photo-taking skills with a microscope feature. 

If you are using a camera, remember to bring extra batteries. 

Insect net

Some survey participants prefer to catch bumble bees using an insect net. A net can be beneficial for hard-to-reach bees on tall flowering plants. 

Data sheets

Data sheets are available here. Remember to bring a pen or pencil to complete your data sheets as you go. Bring a clipboard to make recording data even easier. 


There are a variety of options for coolers. A softer cooler or one with backpack straps can be easier to carry around while in the field. 

Collection jars 

Small tupperware containers can work great for catching bees, and you may already have some at home. 

These are another form of tupperware that you may already have at home. 

Urine sample cups are also great for catching bees and are very affordable. 

Other small clear containers can also work to catch bees. 


Make sure you have either a GPS unit or a smartphone that can access either Google or Apple Maps, as you need to record your exact location in the data sheets. 

Sun protection 

Remember to bring a hat and sunscreen while you are out in the field on your survey. It is important to protect yourself, especially during the peak of the summer when you are out looking for bumble bees. 


You need a timer to record your 45 minute survey. You can use your smartphone, a small kitchen timer, or even a watch. 

Drinking water

Again, don't forget to take care of yourself! Water is necessary to keep you hydrated during your survey. 

Field guides

The use of a field guide, either for plants or bumble bees, can help you make accurate identifications during your survey. We recommend using a guide that you are familiar with to aid in making correct identifications. 

Field notebook 

A notebook can be helpful to document any other observations that you make during the survey process. 

Hand lens

A hand lens can be very helpful in identifying bumble bee species. 


You don't have to survey alone! Bringing a friend or family member can make for a fun experience and enhance your safety.