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Why is it important: Bumblebees are Ireland’s most important wild pollinator. We know many of our rare bumblebee species are threatened with extinction, but it is also important that we understand how the abundance of our more common species is changing. This is a long-term citizen science scheme that was established in 2012 to track changes and detect the early warning signs of a general threat to bumblebees and to pollination services. It provides vital baseline data that will be used to assess the impact of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan over time.

How to take part: Walk a fixed route once a month from March until October and record the diversity and abundance of bumblebees that you spot. Your walk can be anywhere, but you should choose somewhere that is both enjoyable and convenient for you.  The route you choose should be 1-2 km in length or a distance you can comfortably complete in 40-60 minutes.  A walk of this length ensures that the bumblebees you see are representative of the community in your area. There are 21 different bumblebee species in Ireland, but most people will only spot 6-7 different species on their walks. It is particularly useful to walk routes where you are also making management changes in line with the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan as it will test the impact of these actions.

Requirements: More volunteers are required. Beginners are very welcome, but the scheme does require an initial time investment to learn bumblebee identification. The Data Centre provides free resources, workshops and online support. Access a free online bumblebee identification course here

Time commitment: Approximately one hour once per month between March and October

Difficulty level: Moderate-Hard

Find out more: Visit the scheme website at: https://www.biodiversityireland.ie/record-biodiversity/bumblebee-monitoring-scheme/

Each month volunteers are emailed a monthly newsletter with hints and tips:  Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme Monthly newsletter_March 2021

If you would like to join the scheme please email: [email protected]