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Call for public to help chart the UK’s bumblebee population

Have you ever wondered which bumblebees roam your garden?

Scientists and conservationists are calling for the public's help to map the UK’s bumblebee population - all you need is a digital camera.

Though acknowledged as some of nature’s most important pollinators, relatively little is known about the geographical spread of these insects.

With the help of the public it is hoped that the bumblebee maps – showing their locations across the country - can be significantly improved.

To make it easy, a new web tool has been developed by environmental and computing scientists at the University of Aberdeen, in collaboration with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT). By taking part, participants will add dots to the map and will learn how to identify the species around them.

Dr René van der Wal from the University of Aberdeen’s School of Biological Sciences explained: “Bumblebees have a unique ecology which make them not only fascinating creatures, but also one of nature’s most important pollinators, playing a vital role in the fruiting of many of the UK’s plants.

“However, there are big holes in our knowledge about where to find some species, and how their populations may be changing over time.

“We are calling on the public to help us fill this gap in knowledge by taking pictures of bumblebees in their gardens and then uploading them to the BeeWatch system on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website.”