A new campaign to protect Britain’s dwindling bee populations will employ the latest smartphone technology.
Members of the public are being urged to record bee sightings to help scientists see how the insects are faring. The charities Friends of the Earth and Buglife, together with retailer B&Q, have developed a free smartphone app that helps users to identify the bees they see and log sightings while they are out and about.
There is currently no accurate picture of the state of the UK’s bees but there are concerns about severe declines in populations in recent years. More than 20 species are already extinct and about a quarter of the remaining 267 bee species are at risk.
The Great British Bee Count’s results will be published in the autumn and the organisations hope it will help to inform action taken by the Government as part of its “national pollinator strategy” for protecting bees and other insects.
Dave Goulson, a professor of biology at the University of Sussex, said: “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.”