The Bumblebee Conservation Trust has launched a new wildlife app which makes it easier to identify some of the UK’s most common species of bumblebees.
The new app, entitled What’s That Bumblebee, offers a brief description of eight of the most common species, and allows users to compare similar species side-by-side.
In total there are 24 bumblebee species in the UK, but the most common ‘Big 8’ that people are most likely to see in their garden or park are the Buff-tailed bumblebee, Common carder bee, Early bumblebee, Garden bumblebee, Heath bumblebee, Red-tailed bumblebee, Tree bumblebee and White-tailed bumblebee.
What’s That Bumblebee also lets people engage with nature in a different and fun way by bringing a three-dimensional bumblebee to virtual life in the user’s own garden or living room, for studying in detail and with the option of capturing images to send to family and friends.
Gill Perkins, Chief Executive of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, said: “We’ve received lots of enquires from people who’ve had more time to notice bumblebees because of the lockdown and want to find out more, and this app is a great way of doing that.”
Andy Benson, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s Education Officer, added: “In these difficult times, lots of people have been appreciating nature and wanting to find out more. What’s That Bumblebee makes it easy for people of all ages to discover and identify different bumblebees visiting their gardens, outdoor spaces, parks or window boxes.”
One in three mouthfuls of food consumed in the UK are due to the hard work of pollinators such as bumblebees. But UK bumblebee populations have crashed, and two species have become extinct in the last 80 years.
Loss of flower-rich habitat is the biggest threat to survival of bumblebees, with 97% of our wildflower meadows lost since the 1940s. Climate change, disease and pesticides may also be major threats. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust encourages people to make gardens, parks and green spaces bumblebee-friendly.
People are being encouraged to share images from the app, which can be downloaded for free for iOS and Android, on social media using the hashtag #whatsthatbumblebee.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com