The public has been invited to download a free smartphone app that allows them to count and identify bees. It is hoped that the data will help scientists and the National Biodiversity Network monitor the species more effectively.
The initiative has been launched by Friends of the Earth, B&Q and Buglife, in an effort to improve bee health. The condition of bees in the UK is not entirely clear and scientists hope that with the help of the public, they can collect enough data to answer some key questions.
Bee conservation expert from the University of Sussex, Prof Dave Goulson, said, “The Great British Bee Count is a fantastic excuse to get outside and see bees in action – they’re fascinating, beautiful and do a vital job.
“The data that people collect will do an important job to help scientists fill in the blanks about where bees are thriving – and where they’re in trouble.”
Some of the questions to which people can help answer are the way in which climate change is affecting foraging in northern parts of the UK and how honeybee colonies are performing.
Friends of the Earth’s executive director Andy Atkins said, “We hope that thousands of people download the app this summer – the great thing is that you don’t need to be an expert, everyone can get involved and be part of the generation that helps save our bees.
“We want this to become an annual event as it’s a great way for people to learn more about this iconic species and work out the best ways to help them.”
Honeybee and bumblebee populations have been declining steadily over the past few years across Europe and America, with a consistent body of evidence linking this phenomenon to some pesticides. The EU commission banned three chemicals for two years in December.
Photo: Michaela Kobyakov via freeimages