Help us to count Britain’s bumblebees
Furry, brightly-coloured and instantly recognisable, bumblebees are icons of the British summer, and they also contribute a huge amount to the British economy through pollinating crops. But they’re in trouble.
Bumblebees are declining across the country (we’ve already lost two species), and to better understand the reasons why, we need data – lots of data – on where we can find the remaining bees, how many there are and what they’re doing.
You can help!
There are currently three different ways that you can help us track Britain’s bumblebees:
BeeWalk – This is the national recording scheme to monitor the abundance of bumblebees across the UK. The survey would be impossible without volunteers like you, who identify and count the bumblebees they see on an hour’s walk each month from March to October.
Anyone with basic bumblebee identification knowledge can become a BeeWalker – all you need is a spare hour or so every month to walk a fixed route of about a mile (you choose where it goes), and send us your sightings.
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 contributes 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. Visit our BeeWalk project page to find out how the project has progressed so far.
Download our BeeWalk Guidelines for step by step instructions on getting involved.
Sign up at www.beewalk.org.uk
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries.
Blooms for Bees – This survey aims to explore which bumblebees visit gardens and allotments and discover which flowers are bumblebee favourites. Taking part in this fun and flower friendly project is easy; simply download the app (search ‘Blooms For Bees’ in the App Store or Google Play) or visit the website and register your location; choose a flowering plant and observe for five minutes; photograph and ID the bumblebees, then simply submit your data!
iRecord – To record bees (and other wildlife) on a more ad hoc basis, go to www.brc.ac.uk/irecord. If possible include a photo of the bumblebee that you have seen to allow the iRecord experts to verify your sighting. Alternatively, if you have a photo but are unable to identify the bumblebee species, upload it to our BeeWatch tool and one of our experts will identify it for you.
Planting for Pollinators – The BeeWatch team has recently launched this new tool which allows you to select a bumblebee species and immediately find out its favourite plant species. Likewise, by selecting a plant on the tool, you will be provided with a list of bumblebee species that rely on that flower for pollen and nectar. Visit the site here…
For tips on taking identifiable photographs of bumblebees, click here.