BeeWalk

Dr Richard Comont delivering a BeeWalk training event

Overview

BeeWalk is a standardised bumblebee-monitoring scheme which involves volunteer ‘BeeWalkers’ walking the same fixed route (transect) once a month between March and October, counting the bumblebees seen and identifying them to species and caste (queen, worker, male) where possible.

Established in 2008, and opened to the public in 2010, the twin aims of the scheme are collecting abundance and distribution data on Britain’s bumblebees, and using this data as widely as possible to analyse population trends and carry out other research as appropriate.

The information collected by BeeWalk volunteers is integral to monitoring how bumblebee populations change through time, and will allow us to detect early warning signs of population declines. All data collected will contribute to important long-term monitoring of bumblebee population changes in response to changes in land-use and climate change and, ultimately, to informing how we manage the countryside.

Results so far

After three scoping years and six in operation as a public recording scheme, the BeeWalk dataset now stands at 65,287 validated records of 24 bumblebee species. That’s 206,399 individual bees!

For a full summary of progress to date, download the BeeWalk 2017 Annual Report.

Current and planned work

The central goal of the BeeWalk programme is to be able to reliably evaluate the trends in British bumblebee populations. By October 2019, our aim is to:

  • Recruit, train and retain existing highly-motivated volunteers, increasing volunteer recorder numbers from 350 to 500 individuals.
  • Increase the number of transects walked from 373 to 500.
  • Increase the number of records submitted from 65,000 to 120,000.

Collaborators

Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society (BWARS), Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Funding

We would like to thank the following organisations for their financial support:

Redwing Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation, Belsize Charitable Trust No.1, Rowlands Charitable Trust, Steel Charitable Trust, Martin Wills Wildlife Maintenance Fund, the Mercers Company, a number of small charitable trusts and all those individual donors who supported our 2015 summer fundraising appeal for this project.

Get involved

To register to take part in our BeeWalk scheme, please visit – https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/surveys/.

For more information about the project please contact beewalk@bumblebeeconservation.org

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Registered Charity No. 1115634 / Scottish Charity No. SC042830