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The New Buzz

You can be a bee scientist, thanks to a new app

Bee approaching sunflower by Kenny Louie

Bee approaching sunflower by Kenny Louie

There’s a new app for your android or iPhone – Bee-friend. It will enable you to become a “citizen scientist” in order to study bees, and help us understand their decline in order to improve the situation. Numbers and types of insects, including bees, seen on the bushes and flowers in individual gardens will be monitored and recorded by ordinary people around once a week. This data that will become part of a project being carried out at the University of Sussex to gain important information about pollinators and the plants that they are attracted to. International environmental organisation Earthwatch along with supermarket Waitrose and The Crown Estate are backing the project

 

Bee friendly app

Bee friendly app

Simon Barnes of Earthwatch said, “Citizen science is a powerful tool as data is collected on a large scale. Once we understand the percentage of bee-friendly plants in people’s gardens we can look at how to optimise that number, which will ease some of the pressure on pollinators. In the longer term Waitrose aim to be involved in the promotion of beneficial plants that are identified. Earthwatch has a long tradition of practicing citizen science through participation on its global research expeditions; this model is equally effective in your own back garden.”

 

The app's interface

The app’s interface

The number of bees and butterflies in Britain has dropped severely over the last 20 years. We need insects to pollinate the crops that we rely on every day for our food.

Mark Gough, Head of Sustainability at the Crown Estate said, “Without pollinators the cost of manual pollination would be immense, severely impacting food price. As one of the biggest agricultural landowners in the UK this is extremely relevant to our tenants. As well as building upon our existing bee projects across all of our business and promoting the app, we will be inspiring employees, managing agents, partners and customers to take part by offering them the chance to go on a one day Earthwatch ‘bee-friendly’ course at Sussex University and work with the scientists who are making this project happen.”

You can download the app (iOS and Android) by visiting http://www.waitrose.com/bees, or scanning the QR code below.

QR code

http://www.waitrose.com/bees

www.earthwatch.org

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