How to keep bees app-y
SCIENTISTS are seeking the public’s help in their quest to understand the foraging needs and preferences of our dwindling bumblebee population. The Blooms for Bees app (www.bloomsforbees.co.uk) has been launched by Coventry University and can be used by anyone to record the flowers that bees visit. A recent study shows that popular ones include cranesbill, green alkanet, sage, mallow and marjoram, but a more detailed picture is required if we are to slow bumblebee decline, which has seen two species become extinct in the past 70 years.
The app features a detailed identification guide that includes all 25 UK bumblebee species. In its focus on surveillance of both flowers and insects (users can submit photos and data), it is the only one of its kind.
The £100,000 project has been co-funded by the university and the Heritage Lottery Fund in partnership with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Garden Organic and the RHS.