THE public is being urged to get ‘buzzy’ and record their sightings of bees in a project to help scientists see how the insects are faring in the UK.
People are being asked to report the type, number and locations of bees they see to contribute to the national biodiversity network, which will be used by experts investigating the plight of bees and measures needed to help them, conservationists said.
There is currently no accurate picture of the state of UK bees, environmentalists said, but there are concerns about severe declines in populations in recent years.
More than 20 UK bee species are already extinct and about a quarter of the country’s remaining 267 species are at risk, they said.
Phil Ainsworth, from the Blackburn and East Lancashire Beekeepers’ Association, said: “We are delighted to be involved.
“The honey bee in East Lancashire and across the country has struggled over recent years so anything that can address their plight is a good thing.
“It will also let people know that there are other types of bees out there.
“Bees in East Lancashire have benefited this year with the warm weather but they are still in a critical condition.”
Bee expert professor 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.”
Friends of the Earth, wildlife charity Buglife and retailers B&Q have developed a free smartphone app to enable people to identify bees and log sightings while they are out and about.
The Great British Bee Count’s results will be published in the autumn and the organisations hope it will help inform action taken by the government as part of its national pollinator strategy for protecting bees and other pollinators.
It is hoped the Great British Bee Count will answer questions about particular species, such as how honeybees are faring across the UK.
The Great British Bee Count app can be downloaded from the App Store, and Google Play, or people can record sightings at www.greatbritish beecount.com.