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!
We have two survey schemes that you can participate in to help us track Britain's bumblebees. These are summarised below and further details can be found on the dedicated pages for each survey, which you can access from the panel on the left of this page.
- BeeWatch - this survey scheme helps to map the distribution of our bumblebees, particularly the rarer species. All you need to do is take digital photographs of any unusual species that you see and upload them to our site. The BeeWatch tool will guide you through some easy questions to help you to identify the bumblebee in your photo so this is a great way to improve your identification skills.
- 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 BeeWatch and then graduating to BeeWalk when you're a little more confident.
"We are facing a fundamental problem with the decline of bees and other pollinators. They have an absolutely crucial role in pollinating many of our important crops - without them we will face higher food costs and potential shortages."
Professor Douglas Kell
BBSRC Chief Executive