BEE INVOLVED Help Count the Bees



So You want to make a change? Well, Bee Involved and help the PMRP.


The Pollinator Monitoring and Research Partnership (PMRP) are recording the populations of Bees and other pollinators across the United Kingdom and they need your help in collecting data.

Many wild and cultivated plants depend on insects to pollinate their flowers, with successful pollination leading to successful seed or fruit production.

There are concerns that numbers of pollinating insects such as bees and flies may be declining, but we need more data to be able to track changes in abundance across the country.

Flower-insect Timed Count (FIT COUNT)

The Flower-Insect Timed Count (FIT Count) is designed to collect new data on numbers of flower-visiting insects, as part of a wider set of surveys under the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme (PoMS). This document contains all the information you need to Bee Involved and carry out a FIT Count. The Count is not difficult to do, but we need to collect data as carefully as possible so that it can be analysed to provide information on potential changes in insect numbers. Please do follow this guidance as closely as you can.


All you need to Bee Involved is a spare 10 or 15 minutes between April and September 2019. Pick a patch, sit and watch and record the number insects you see visiting the flowers.

This is a great activity for children or beginners as there is no need for any knowledge about different species of insects.

For full details of how to choose your patch and how to record and submit your results visit the

Volunteers are also required for a more complex survey, full details and survey forms for 2019 are available on the Pollinator Monitoring Scheme website  and in the video below.

Planning your FIT Count

What will I need to carry out a survey?

 You need about 15 minutes of time – the count itself lasts for 10 minutes.

 Counts need to take place between the beginning of April and the end of September, in dry and reasonably warm weather, see weather conditions below.

 You will need to find a location containing a target flower species to watch during the FIT Count. This can be in a garden or park, in the countryside or on a nature reserve – anywhere that has suitable flowers can be used. See below for the target flower list.

 You need to watch insects in a 50cm by 50cm square patch – the easiest way to define this is to use a quadrat (see below).

 You are asked to take a digital photo of your target flower species, and on at least some of your counts to take photos of examples of the different types of insect you have seen.

 Print out the recording form, and make sure you have a pencil or pen to record your counts.

 If needed, print out the identification guides to plants and insects.

 After the count, please add your results to the PoMS form on the iRecord website (you will need to register on iRecord first).

What weather conditions are suitable?

A FIT Count can be carried out at any time of day between the beginning of April and the end of September, as long as the weather is dry and warm:

  • If sky is clear (less than half cloud) the minimum temperature for a count is 13°C
  • If sky is cloudy (half cloud or more) the minimum temperature for a count is 15°C

Please do not carry out counts when the temperature is below the above thresholds. You are asked to provide simple information about the amount of sun and shade during your count, and the wind conditions. See the recording form for details.

What location can I use?

Your location can be anywhere where there are flowers to attract pollinating insects. An urban garden or park is suitable, or in more rural areas it could be on farmland, on a nature reserve – anywhere where suitable flowers are growing, where you have permission to be, and where it is safe to go (see the Stay safe section below).

Your count results will be visible to others via the iRecord website, so when entering your results it is best to give a town or village name, not your full address.

You can carry out a FIT Count as a one-off exercise at any suitable site, but we are keen to have counts repeated on different dates and times at the same site, so places that you can easily gain access to (such as gardens or nearby parks) are ideal for this.

The target flowers Which target flowers do I need to find?

Whenever possible we would like you to find one of the 14 flower species listed in the table below (see also the separate identification guide for the target flower species).

You don’t have to find a particularly large patch of the target flower, and the target flower can either be growing in a patch all of the same flower, or among different flower species.

We ask you to record how many of your target flowers are in your quadrat to help us understand how many insects have been attracted to the flowers.


Apr to Sep

Apr to Sep

Apr to June

Apr to Sep

May to Sep

June to Aug

June to Sep

June to Sep

June to Sep

June to Sep

July to Sep

July to Sep

July to Sep



Buttercup Ranunculus species

Dandelion – Taraxacum officinale

Hawthorn – Crataegus

White Dead-nettle – Lamium album

Bramble – Rubus fruticosus

Lavender – Lavandula angustifolia

Hogweed – Heracleum sphondylium

Knapweed – Centarea nigra or scabiosa

Ragwort – Senecio jacobaea and relatives

White Clover – Trifolium repens


Calluna vulgaris or Erica species

Thistle – Cirsium or Carduus

Ivy – Hedera helix


Individual Flowers

Flower Head

Individual Flowers

Flower Spike

Individual Flowers

Flower Spike


Flower Head

Flower Head

Flower Head

Flower Spike

Flower Spike

Flower Head

Flower Head

Take part in the “FIT Count” – download materials here:

(These documents have been slightly amended for 2019, but if you still have 2018 versions they are fine to use. The only change is that our target flower category of “Heather” has been broadened to include Erica species as well as Calluna.)

For each FIT Count that you do, please add the results to our online recording form.

There is also a PoMS Poster – please pass this on and encourage others to take part!

If you have any questions please ask away.  You can find me on Twitter or Facebook Should you wish you can join Bee Seeds Club for newsletters and discount codes.

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