Get a buzz out of helping bees. All you need are some broad beans

A new citizen science project called Bees and Beans aims to map the activity of wild bees in our gardensBritain’s bees need you. With habitat loss, agricultural practices and changes to land use taking their toll on many wild species of pollinator, the impact on plants, from fruit crops to garden flowers, could be severe. Now scientists at the University of Sussex are enlisting your help to keep tabs on these industrious insects. Opening for recruits this month, Bees and Beans is a nationwide citizen science project designed to map the activity of wild bees in gardens and allotments to help inform conservation work.But with bee identification a tricky business, you’ll need more than binoculars and a spotter’s guide. “If you can’t necessarily measure so easily which bees are actually present, you can measure the effects of them being in an area,” says Linda Birkin, a PhD student who is leading the project. “The idea is to get people to grow a plant that needs pollination in order to produce fruit, then do that around the country and see what the difference in yield is in different places.” Sign up and you’ll be sent three pots to fill with compost plus some broad bean seeds. Once grown, one plant is left for insects to pollinate, the second is hand-pollinated and the third is wrapped in garden fleece or netting. The number of beans produced by the first plant can be compared to that of the second (maximum pollination) and the third (minimum pollination) to re...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - Category: Science Authors: Tags: Science Bees Environment Source Type: news