Citizen scientists urged to Spot-A-Bee and map their habitats

Citizen scientists are being urged to help map bee-friendly plants around the country through a new app.

The Spot-A-Bee app invites users to submit photos of plants that attract bees in their garden or local area to help plot a map of plant distribution across the UK.

It is hoped the app will help connect people with nature in their area as well as gathering useful information for research.

The app has been created by the School of Education at the University of Glasgow in partnership with the School of Pharmacy at Cardiff University.

Dr Ria Dunkley, a lecturer at the University of Glasgow, said: “We are wanting to get people to notice the plants that are good for bees around them.

“You just need to download the app, create an account, then upload photos every time you see a bee on or around a plant, in your garden or in the street.

“You don’t really need to get far away to engage with nature, you can engage with it all around you.

“Bee-friendly habitats and pollinator habitats can even be road verges, places that lots of pollinators are using for their food sources.

“We hope it will be able to brighten the lockdown period a bit by getting people to do something quite interactive.”

The app will also enable people to connect with others interested in bees and nature around the country as a member of the Spot-A-Bee community.

It is hoped the data gathered through the app will be useful for conservation as it will provide information about plants that bees like and could encourage planting of them to create bee- friendly habitats.

The information could also help with research into the anti-microbial properties of honey.

Dr Dunkley said they are also developing a learning pack for children and their families who want to help bees by looking after their homes, which will be sent out to people who get in touch via Twitter @ISpotABee, or on Instagram or Facebook.

The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play.