Plan bee: Manchester wildlife detectives urged to log sightings to combat decline for Great British Bee Count

Mancunians are being urged to play detective and keep an eye out for the city’s winged motif – the humble bee.

The inaugural Great British Bee Count is an initiative which will help scientists build a nationwide picture of bee health.

Friends of the Earth, B&Q and Buglife have developed a free smartphone app to help bee detectives easily identify and log sightings while out and about.

Bee expert Professor Dave Goulson, author of A Sting in the Tale, said: “The Great British Bee Count is a fantastic excuse to get outside and see bees in action – they’re fascinating, beautiful and do a vital job. 

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“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.”

Bees form part of Manchester’s heraldic emblems symbolising hard work and industry and they also play vital role in the ecosystem by pollinating the crops that we eat and use on a daily basis.

By reporting the type, numbers and locations of these furry critters they see people will be contributing data to the National Biodiversity Network, used by experts investigating the plight of bees and the steps needed to help them. 

More than 20 UK bee species are already extinct and about a quarter of the remaining 267 species are at risk. 

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Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director Andy Atkins said: “We hope that thousands of people download the app this summer – the great thing is that you don’t need to be an expert, everyone can get involved and be part of the generation that helps save our bees. 

“We want this to become an annual event as it’s a great way for people to learn more about this iconic species and work out the best ways to help them.” 

Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at B&Q, Matthew Sexton, said:“As the UK’s largest garden centre, we’re proud to be a partner of the Great British Bee Count. We’ve been concerned for many years about declining bee health, which is why we work closely with Friends of the Earth. 

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“We know how vital bees are to keeping our gardens and countryside healthy and there’s lots gardeners can do, with our help, to support hungry bees, such as planting bee friendly plants, starting a bee café and planting a Friends of the Earth Bee World.” 

For more information about how to get involved in the project click here.

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