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Annual First Bumble Bee Contest


Starting in 2023, the lab initiated an “Annual First Bumble Bee of the Year Contest”.

The rules are simple, find a bumble bee (and prove it) before anyone else in Larimer County, Colorado, and you win a pitcher of beer (or its equivalent) at a Mola Lab Happy Hour, where you will be the guest of honor.

See previous winners below!

Contest Details

Winners declared for the year! Stay tuned for 2025 info.

Previous Winners


In 2024 we declared two winners!

Rylee McMillan, Forest and Rangeland Stewardship undergrad, made the very first sighting – a Bombus pensylvanicus (American Bumble Bee) queen observed on a concrete sidewalk on March 9 (right).

Photo by Rylee McMillan, 2024 co-winner

Because of this odd sighting on a sidewalk and exceptionally early, we decided to keep the winner secret until another sighting occurred.

The second winner was Anders Hastings, FRS undergrad, who observed a Bombus huntii (Hunt’s Bumble Bee) queen on Townsendia hookeri (Easter Daisy) on March 21 near Dixon Reservoir on the west side of town.

Photo by Anders Hastings, 2024 co-winner


Janet Hardin of CSU’s Agricultural Biology Department became the first winner after observing a Bombus huntii queen on April 9th, 2023.

The queen was foraging on Townsendia hookeri in the foothills on the edge of Fort Collins. Fittingly, the Townsendia hookeri is known as Easter Daisy, and Janet’s observation was made Easter morning.

Photo by Janet Harding, 2023 winner