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Great British Bee Count!

This year the Great British Bee Count is five!! Five years of enthusiastic volunteers submitting bee sightings across the country through May and June!

So far, it’s been a great year for bees, with the fantastic news that the use of bee harming neonicotinoids are to be banned in countries across the European Union, including the UK. (Read about Friends of the Earth’s campaign to ban neonics.)

However, there is still much work to be done and one of the key things is developing our understanding of bee populations. This is where your help can be invaluable in contributing sightings that build a picture – including frequency, location and habitat. (Learn more about what happens to your bee sightings.)

This is where your help can be invaluable.

How do I identify a bee?

Friends of the Earth have created a handy app that you can download here, and use it to capture and identify any bees that you come across this summer.

There are also resources available on their website including an identification guide and a free bee spotter’s guide as well as loads of bee themed events across the country!

Garden bumblebee (Bombus hortorum) - Lyn White

How can I help?

Once you’ve downloaded the app you can start recording your sightings. People from Land’s End to John O’Groats are submitting sightings from their gardens, local parks, road verges and even waste grounds!

Friends of the Earth Bee campaigner Emi Murphy said: “Thousands of verified bee sightings from the Great British Bee Count will also contribute to the national Pollinator Monitoring Scheme – the first comprehensive health check of Britain’s bees and other pollinators.”

Of course, you can do even more too, by making sure that your garden is bee friendly, planting wild flowers, or writing to your local council to ask them to protect pollinators. There are lots of tips on the Great British Bee Count website.

Emi Murphy added: “Habitat loss is one of the biggest threats bees face – so it’s the perfect excuse to get a bit lazy in the garden this summer and allow things to grow wild and play your part in protecting these crucial pollinators.”

We hope you enjoy taking part in the Great British Bee Count, let us know how you get on, and do tell is you spot some visitors to your Seedball wild flowers!!

Hairy-footed flower bee (Anthophora plumipes) - Trish Carden

People are being urged to play their part in helping Britain’s bees and other wildlife by allowing their gardens to grow a bit wilder, with a few wildflowers or ‘weeds’ and long grass patches. The Great British Bee Count free app contains information on what people can do to help bees including bee spotting and a bee-friendly plant guide. According to a King’s Fund report, around 87% of UK households have a garden and estimates suggest that private gardens cover an area about the size of one-fifth of Wales – lots of space to create bee-friendly paradises!

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