Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I crop my photos before uploading an image for identification?
Bee pixels are valuable. When a bee is small in your original photo, it will not be represented by that many pixels. So, the machine may see more background than bee. Cropping the image tightly to the edge of the bee reduces the number of distracting pixels and maximizes meaningful bee pixels.

How can I maximize accuracy when using BeeMachine?
Computer vision is remarkably robust to low-quality images, which is good because bees are really hard to photograph! However, as with people, the algorithms do better with well-focused images and unobstructed views of bees. Therefore, after cropping, upload your highest quality images of bees. Images taken in profile or from above do a little better than images head-on or from below. Look for consistent predictions by comparing the results of multiple images taken of the same individual. The algorithm seems to handle the JPEG file format better than PNG, so upload your images as JPEGs for best results.

What if I’m not sure if the insect in my photo is actually a bumble bee?
BeeMachine isn’t yet able to understand that not everything is a bumble bee! So any image uploaded will be forced into one of the bumble bee categories. Updates will include a “Not a bumble” category and/or more informative results for common mimics.

What file types are supported and what is the maximum file size that can be uploaded?
Currently, you may upload JPEG and PNG. However, JPEGs tend to provide more accurate results. Files can be up to 5 MB but files over 1 MB may take a little longer to process.

What is next for BeeMachine?
BeeMachine is in active development so check back for new features and updates. Soon manual cropping will not be required. We are working on a user-friendly mobile app that can handle multiple images at once as well as short video clips. We are also updating the classification model to increase accuracy and include more bee species (not just bumbles) in more regions of the world.

Can I contribute images to help improve BeeMachine?
Yes! If you would like to donate images of pinned specimens or bees in the field, please contact me via email: