This year’s Great British Bee Count got off to a flying start today. Thousands of people are expected to take part, but organisers Friends of the Earth are urging everyone to get involved and find out more about after a recent survey highlighted that most Briton’s can’t recgonise a honey bee, despite being very concerned about the welfare of them.
The Great British Bee Count, which runs from 19 May until 30 June, is organised by Friends of the Earth, with support from Buglife, and sponsorship from Waitrose and is backed by TV presenter Michaela Strachan.
The Great British Bee Count aims to help people find out more about the incredible diversity of bee species in Britain (over 250), the threats they face, and what they can do to help them. Using a free app, people can record the bees they spot in their gardens, parks, schools and countryside. Over 100,000 individual bee sightings were recorded last year.
Although surveys indicate public concern for bees, 43 per cent of those questioned mistakenly chose a bumblebee when asked to identify a honey bee. A third (33 per cent) correctly chose a honeybee.
Friends of the Earth is encouraging people to get outside in the next few weeks and find out more about the huge number of bee species in the UK, and the crucial role they play pollinating our wild plants, garden flowers and crops.
Craig Bennett CEO at Friends of the Earth, said: “Bees play a crucial role pollinating plants in our fields, gardens and the countryside – join the Great British Bee Count and find out more about these fascinating creatures and how to identify them. It’s fun, free and informative.
“There are lots of things people can do to help these under-threat pollinators, from creating bee-friendly gardens and avoiding pesticides, to putting pressure on our government and councils to do more to safeguard our precious bees.”
Michaela Strachan, TV Presenter, said: “Bees are so important to our ecosystems, but they desperately need our help. There are two very easy ways that you can do your bit. You can help to create bee friendly habitats and you can get involved in bee counts.
“Bees are great for gardens so choose bee-friendly plants and see how many bees you can attract. You can also take part in the Great British Bee Count. It’s fun, free and will really help you to learn more about our precious bees.
“We have 260 species in Britain and the free app will help you to see just how many bees you can spot. So Bee inspired to buzz off and get planting and counting!”
Professor Dave Goulson, Bee Expert, said: “Britain’s bees are facing multiple threats, from loss of flower meadows and quiet places to nest, and from the many pesticides used in most modern farming.
“The good news is that we can all play a part in helping them. Making our gardens and allotments more friendly to bees is easy to do – and can help make a real difference.
“If you don’t have a garden you can ask your school, housing association or council to create bee friendly spaces.
“Imagine if every garden, park and school grounds had bee-friendly flowers, and we grew wildflowers on our roundabouts and road verges; our towns and cities could become huge nature reserves for pollinators.
“Bees are fascinating and beautiful insects. Joining the Great British Bee Count is a fun way to find out more about them.”
Paul Hetherington, Director of Fundraising and Communications at Buglife said: “It’s great that so many people are concerned about bees – even if they don’t recognise them. By using the free app we hope that more people will be able to identify and understand more about the rich variety of our bees – over 250 species – that are out there pollinating our flowers and food.”
Tor Harris, Head of Sustainability at Waitrose, said: “Waitrose is delighted to be backing the Great British Bee Count again this year. We hope people across the country will download the fun free app, find out more about Britain’s bees, and help them by growing a wide range of bee-friendly plants.”