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Washington State University

To bee, or not to bee: This is no bumbling insect audit

Mad as a hornet, a bumblebee buzzes her wings in vain against the walls of the vial holding her captive. She alights briefly on the paper tab indicating her number, and then resumes scuttling around her plastic prison. Her warden is Shaina Helsel, one soldier in a citizen army that is taking a census of Maine's bumblebees in an effort to secure the future of the state's blueberries, cranberries and tomatoes amid concern about the population of pollinators. "Time, location, elevation play a factor in what species are where," says Helsel, a biology student at University of Maine at Augusta. "It's an interesting thing, going out and finding a bunch of different...