Can’t wait until GBBO starts again soon? Why not kill time waiting by taking part in the GBBC? The Great British Bee Count!
Friends of the Earth have launched an app to provide data for the relatively recent government “Pollinator Monitoring Scheme”. Launched in 2017, the scheme aims to provide long term monitoring of pollinator abundance and distribution moving into the future. You can see here how the data used from this app is used in more detail. This app provides a great opportunity for everyone form all backgrounds get involved with science. The count is only occurring for another 10 days(!) so make sure you download the app immediately and start counting. This week is also National Insect Week, so what better time to get involved!
How to use the app
Simply download the app, register and then keep an eye out for bees whenever you are outside!
When you see a bee try to snap a quick photo of it and get a good look. Take out your phone and click the ‘Submit a bee sighting’ button in the app. Upload the photo you have taken (this is really important if you can). Then use the information and photos to identify the type of bee you have found. The identification guide is super easy and you can click on the photos to get more details about the species, like scientific name, time of year you’re likely to see them, and a little ‘about’ section. Select the number of this species of bee you have found and press ‘next’. Then you go on to select the weather conditions, sky, wind and rain (this is super quick and easy just select from a drop down). The next page is a drop down menu (again very easy) of the habitat and if the bee was spotted by a nest. Then let the app determine your GPS and submit the sighting! It takes no time at all and you can submit multiple bees for each sighting.
Who can participate?
Everyone! When you register there is the option to select your level of expertise, from novice to expert (involving some brilliant bee puns, that genuinely made me chuckle). It is really important to try and get a photo of the bee, the clearer the better but any photos are great even if they’re blurry because it allows verification of sightings.
Some of my sightings
Around my house is a lot of bee friendly plants which you can read about here, so I often see bees around the garden. Also when walking Keeva we see bees out and about so I have been recording these sightings too, a lot of these sightings have been on lavender plants which is not surprising considering how much bees love lavender. A lot of bees I’ve been seeing are brown carder bees, banded white-tailed bumblebees and honey bees.
Not only has it been nice to take the time in nature to observe the bees foraging in flowers, it has also helped my bee identification skills which is always a bonus.
I hope you download the app and enjoy being involved with this important scientific study.