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BeeWalk

BeeWalk is our standardised bumblebee-monitoring scheme active across the UK, recording the abundance of each bumblebee species seen between March and October.

A man standing in a meadow and using a net to catch a bumblebee for identification purposes.
A woman on a BeeWalk with her dog in a local park.

Tom Luck

Active since 2008 and opened up as a public citizen science scheme in 2010 and 2011, the aim of the scheme is to collect abundance and distribution data on Britain’s bumblebees, and to use this data as widely as possible. Ireland and Northern Ireland are part of an equivalent scheme.

Volunteer BeeWalkers walk a fixed monitoring route (a transect) once a month between March and October inclusive, recording the abundance of each bumblebee species seen, and submitting this data to us via the BeeWalk website.

The growth of the dataset into one of the largest bumblebee datasets in the world means its profile is ever-increasing, which is important for the Trust’s policy and advocacy work, as well as the integral role the data plays in our scientific research.

The Trust carries out a range of research in-house, such as annual population trend analysis for the BeeWalk Annual Report, key to the scheme’s ability to act as an early warning system for species declines. We also collaborate with a number of research institutions, investigating a range of subjects such as population changes in response to land use and climate change, and species habitat interactions. The dataset is available via the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), and through downloads from these sites alone has been cited in over 40 scientific papers. The reach and influence of the dataset continues to grow, making the Trust the go-to organisation for up-to-date bumblebee data.

To ensure our BeeWalkers are able to carry out their surveys accurately and effectively, and the data is the highest quality possible, the BeeWalk team offer a range of support and guidance. Live online and in-person training events are regularly scheduled during the bumblebee season and a dedicated member of staff is available three days a week to answer queries and provide support. There is also access to a variety of online training recordings and video tutorials on our You Tube channel. Plus, our Skills for Bees projects are providing intensive on-the-ground support and bumblebee ID and survey training in under recorded areas of Britain.

A Common carder bumblebee flying towards the purple flowers of borage.

Collaborators

Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society (BWARS), UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH), particularly the Biological Records Centre (BRC), University of Kent’s Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology (DICE).

A man standing in a field of wildflowers and holding a net in search of bumblebees.

Funding

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, Ratcliff Foundation, a number of small charitable trusts.

Find out more
A close-up of a Buff-tailed bumblebee feeding mid-flight from a white flower. The wings are blurred due to the speed of their movement.

Visit the website

Find out more or register to become a BeeWalker on our dedicated website.

Further information

To find out more and register to take part in our BeeWalk scheme, please visit www.beewalk.org.uk or email beewalk@bumblebeeconservation.org