Can you help insects? Read more...
In the sunshine yesterday I saw my first bee of the year. In my Leicester garden this is always between Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) queens looking for nest sites and male Hairy-footed Flower Bees (Anthophora plumipes) looking for females. This year, the Hairy-footed bees won again. Either way, it's not just bees that appear to be in trouble, but all pollinating insects.
The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology is running a national Pollinator Monitoring Survey. To take part participants carry out a 10-minute Flower-Insect Timed Count (FIT Count) and repeat this in your local area over time - the survey pack giving full information and ID guides is available here: https://www.ceh.ac.uk/our-science/projects/pollinator-monitoring
For the more enthusiastic there is a role in helping with the systematic survey of pollinators and floral resources on a network of stratified random sites across England, Wales and Scotland. This involves ‘adopting’ one of the randomly allocated 1km squares that is within your travel distance, meeting on site with one of the project team, and then on three further occasions during spring and summer visiting the square to set out and take in water-filled pan traps. These need to be set out between 9 and 10am, and then collected in 6 hours later, with the insect specimens being returned to CEH. They ask you to identify flowering plants (to species level where possible) for some measures of flower abundance in the immediate vicinity of the traps, and to carry out some FIT Counts during the middle part of the day. All the kit, maps and recording forms would be supplied by the project, and access permissions will be in place. If you might be interested in the 1 km square surveys please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your location and they will match you to the nearest available square.