The bumblebee recording season is officially open!
March marks the start of the new BeeWalk season. BeeWalk is our flagship survey, set up in 2010. It was created by Bumblebee Conservation Trust to monitor populations of bumblebees, because so little data has actually been collected on changes in bumblebee abundance over time. The idea is that volunteers walk a set route, once per month, from March until October. They then count the numbers of individuals of each species that they see on their walk, and report them back to us. Because the same route is taken each time, and is done so every year, we can then compare the results between years to see how the bees are faring. To learn more about Bee Walk scheme and how you can get involved, click here.
I haven’t had a chance to do my BeeWalk yet, as the weather here has been much too cold for surveying, and surveys can only be done when it’s at least 12 degrees C. However, I have decided on the route, which runs along a riverbank and meadow near my home. I chose it because it was easy to get to, has lots of flowering plants, and the path is easy to follow. This is in contrast to my former BeeWalk sites in Northern Ireland, where I use to live before starting work with BBCT. Those sites were through fields with lots of fences, cattle and lakeside pastures, which were very muddy and difficult to walk through. So if you’d like to do a BeeWalk, my personal top tip would be to pick a good, easy route.
In other news, I’ve also been helping to produce the latest version of our members’ newsletter, Buzzword. Buzzword is published three times per year, and contains information about what we’ve been up to, what members can do to help bumblebees, and interesting news stories about bumblebees. A lot of work goes into making the newsletter as interesting and enjoyable as possible, so it’s always a great feeling to see the finished product. This edition won’t be hitting people’s homes until around Easter, but see below for a preview of the front cover. If you’d like to become a member of Bumblebee Conservation Trust and receive Buzzword, click here for more information on joining us.