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Saturday 29th May 2004

How To Id. A Bumblebee.

Fancy donating some of your time to help advance our scientific knowledge of one of Britain's best known insects?


You may think one bumblebee looks pretty much the same as the next ... and you'd be right.

But there are very real differences and if you can spot them (with the help of an Identification Sheet), then the National Bumblebee Nest Survey NEEDS YOU!!!

Go to the National Bumblebee Nest Survey homepage for all the details on how to take part.

Disturbingly, the number of bumblebee species in Britain has been dropping over the past century, leaving only 6 commonly found varieties.

Experts want to know more about how many bees are out there, which varieties are thriving and, importantly, where all our bumblebees are nesting (eg. in shrubs, in flower beds, perhaps even in your bird nesting box).

That's where you come in. By taking some time to look around your garden and any other site in the countryside for bumblebees and their nests, you could help add to our greater knowledge of exactly what is happening to our ever-changing bee population.

You don't need to be an expert ... just have the time to do a bit of wandering around, counting and compiling of results.

Information on how to take part (as well as an identification sheet) can be found on the National Bumblebee Nest Survey website.

IMPORTANT:

Do NOT send your results to the Today programme. All the details you'll need on how to go about taking part in the survey and how to lodge your results are available on the Bumblebee Nest Survey homepage.

Stay tuned to Today and we'll bring you the results once the numbers have been crunched and analysed by the organisers of the survey (Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, in conjunction with the Universities of Newcastle and Southampton).

Just in case you've forgotten (though I'm sure you haven't), National Insect Week takes place between the 14th and 20th of June. An ideal time to get counting, though any time during June is fine.

Click here for the National Bumblebee Nest Survey homepage, where you'll find all the details you'll need to take part.

You'll also be able to find out more in BBC Wildlife Magazine.

Happy counting ... just make sure you don't get TOO close.

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