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Wisconsin Wild Bee App developers hope to double app usage this year

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 8:04 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Bees, farming operations and gardens could benefit from an app developed at the University of Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Wild Bee App – WiBee – is designed to use mobile phones to help people track bees they observe. It was launched last year by a UW-Madison Department of Entomology research team. The project started with state apple growers questioning whether they could depend upon wild bees to pollinate their crops, or whether they would have to import honeybees to their properties. The WiBee app collects bee-visitation data through user-surveys that each take about five minutes to conduct. Entomologists can make recommendations for an area based on the data collected. Wisconsin has more than 400 species of native, wild bees, which are supplemented by European honeybees. One hundred-sixteen users collected data from 891 surveys during 2021, and the app’s developers hope that number doubles this year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is using $300 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to conduct surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 and other emerging diseases in susceptible animals to build an early warning system to alert public health officials about potential transmissions. The project is designed to prevent or limit the next global pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19 and other diseases that could pose threats to people and animals.

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s leaders have announced that the organization’s 102nd annual meeting and conferences will be Dec. 3-6 at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells. That annual conference brings together state farmers, agribusiness professionals and supporters to discuss issues affecting agriculture; it also sets the organization’s legislative and policy priorities for the year.

The fair season continues to roll on in Wisconsin, with the Central Wisconsin State Fair at Marshfield opening yesterday and the Price County Fair at Phillips opening today. The Burnett County Fair at Grantsburg opens tomorrow. All of those fairs run through Sunday. The Minnesota State Fair – known as The Great Minnesota Get-Together – also opens tomorrow and runs through Sept. 6.

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