Great British Bee Count - what you need to know

Neil Verlander

24 May 2016

  • Join the Great British Bee Count with our free app and find out more about bees
  • Bee count backed by TV presenter Michaela Strachan
  • Survey shows we struggle to recognise bees

Can you tell the difference betwween a bumblebee and a honey bee? According to a survey for Friends of the Earth, the majority of us can't.

The findings come as Friends of the Earth launches its annual Great British Bee Count, which is backed by TV's Michaela Strachan and runs until 30 June. 

Join the
Great British Bee Count

About the Great British Bee Count

The Great British Bee Count aims to help people find out more about:

  • how to recognise our common species
  • the incredible diversity of bee species in Britain (over 250)
  • the threats bees face
  • what you can do to help bees.

Using a free app, people can record the bees they spot in their gardens, parks, schools and countryside. Over 100,000 individual bee sightings were recorded in 2015.

Great British Bee Count app 2016

TV presenter Michaela Strachan said:

“Bees are so important to our ecosystems, but they desperately need our help.

There are 2 very easy ways that you can do your bit. You can help create bee friendly habitats and you can get involved in bee counts.

“Bees are great for gardens so choose bee-friendly plants and see how many bees you can attract."

“You can also take part in the Great British Bee Count. It's fun, free and will really help you to learn more about our precious bees."

Michaela Strachan
Michaela Strachan © Caroline McClelland

Our YouGov bee survey

Although surveys indicate public concern for bees, 43% of those questioned mistakenly chose a bumblebee when asked to identify a honey bee.

A third (33%) correctly chose a honey bee.

Friends of the Earth is encouraging people to get outside in the next few weeks and find out more about the huge number of bee species in the UK, and the crucial role they play pollinating our wild plants, garden flowers and crops.

Join the
Great British Bee Count

Bee expert Professor Dave Goulson said:

“Britain’s bees are facing multiple threats, from loss of flower meadows and quiet places to nest, and from the many pesticides used in most modern farming.

“The good news is that we can all play a part in helping them.

"Making our gardens and allotments more friendly to bees is easy to do – and can help make a real difference.

“If you don’t have a garden you can ask your school, housing association or council to create bee friendly spaces.

Imagine if every garden, park and school grounds had bee-friendly flowers, and we grew wild flowers on our roundabouts and road verges; our towns and cities could become huge nature reserves for pollinators. 

The Great British Bee Count is organised by Friends of the Earth, with support from Buglife, and sponsorship from Waitrose.

Main picture: Female hairy-footed flower bee, by Debbie Wright 


Female hairy-footed flower bee