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 survey scheme helps us to monitor bumblebee population changes and involves our volunteers walking a fixed-route of 1-2km each month and recording what they see. You need reasonably good bumblebee identification skills to take part in this survey so if you are a complete novice you might be better starting with one of the options below and then graduating to BeeWalk when you're a little more confident. More...
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 from 30 July 2016) 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...
Tips on bumblebee photography
For tips on taking identifiable photographs of bumblebees, click here.
“Bumblebees are one of the most endearing insect visitors to any garden. Their furry, colourful bodies and clumsy flight always raise a smile, but they also do an essential job. Without their pollination services many flowers would produce no seeds, and fruit and vegetable yields would suffer.”