Help us to count the UK’s bumblebees
Following updated guidance from the government from 13 May 2020, we have updated our guidance on resuming BeeWalk transects in England only. Please read the full guidance here.
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 the UK’s bumblebees:
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 or read the latest BeeWalk Annual Report.
Download our Bee Walk 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.
UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme (PoMS)
Data from BeeWalk is feeding into this scheme, but there’s also scope for anyone to contribute directly to the scheme, either by carrying out short FIT counts (watch a patch of flowers for 10 minutes and see what turns up) or by taking on monitoring a 1km square. For details of how to join in, visit PoMS.
To record bees (and other wildlife) on a more ad hoc basis, go to the iRecord page. 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 – this tool 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 BeeWatch.
Take a look at our tips on taking identifiable photographs of bumblebees.
Nest survey (trial year)
This trial survey is for anyone who has found a bumblebee nest and wants to help inform our knowledge on where nests occur as well as optional information to help inform us about nesting ecology and behaviour.
The survey takes between 5 and 15 minutes to complete.