Count your bees

The Tribune (NZ) - - PLAN BEE -

Gar­den­ers and school chil­dren are be­ing in­vited to run the very first ‘‘cit­i­zen sci­ence’’ sur­vey of bee num­bers in New Zealand.

Sci­en­tists from Plant & Food Re­search, NZ Gar­dener mag­a­zine and Stuff.co.nz have teamed up to run The Great Kiwi Bee Count.

The sur­vey of bee num­bers is in­tended to pro­vide a base­line for gen­er­a­tions of re­search into the bees.

NZ Gar­dener ed­i­tor Jo McCar­roll said bees should not be taken for granted.

‘‘We do need a base­line so we can see how our bees are do­ing.’’

Through­out Septem­ber, Ki­wis young and old are en­cour­aged to get into their gar­dens, parks or neigh­bour­hood – prefer­ably on a sunny day – then choose a flow­er­ing plant and count how many bees they see in two min­utes.

It’s the per­fect ex­cuse to get the kids out­doors. Bee coun­ters are en­cour­aged to note down the type of flow­er­ing plant and pay at­ten­tion to the type of bee they spot.

They can then record the re­sults on stuff.co.nz/greatki­wibeecount.

The data gath­ered from across New Zealand over the month will help sci­en­tists work out the state of bee health and num­bers in the coun­try.

It will also pro­vide a base­line fig­ure for a fu­ture ‘‘bee cen­sus’’. So grab your smart phone, find a shrub, and bee use­ful.

Take part to­day.

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