Gardeners ID best plants for bees

Gardeners ID best plants for bees

The three flowers most visited by bees are viper’s bugloss, teasel and toadflax, according to gardeners using the new Blooms for Bees app

The app, created by scientists from Coventry University, is the only bumblebee-surveying app to record the flower being foraged as well as the insect.

The app, developed by scientists at the university’s Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR), was launched last year. By focusing on gardens and allotments, it aims to improve recommendations on which flowers to grow to support bumblebee populations. Over 500 people, from the Orkneys to the Isles of Scilly, have submitted 3,011 bee photographs and 2,218 plant surveys so far.

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Participants are asked to use the app to carry out five-minute surveys to identify the bumblebees they see in their gardens and record which flowers they visit. It features a detailed identification guide which includes all 25 UK bumblebee species. Fifteen species have been identified by participants so far, including the ruderal bumblebee and the moss carder bee, which are listed as national conservation priorities.

Garden bumblebee on toadflax. Picture: Blooms for Bees

Judith Conroy, a researcher with CAWR, says, “Our results are really important to us because they have come from gardeners themselves, recording and photographing what they see. Before, most of the information we had was anecdotal evidence.

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“The species of plants that came out top were not necessarily those which are most widely recommended. The information from gardeners has opened new doors for us and helped improve our knowledge of how to make gardens and allotments more bumblebee-friendly.”

The app is free to download on Apple and Android platforms. Find out more at https://www.coventry.ac.uk/primary-news/best-plants-to-attract-bees-revealed-after-gardeners-app-survey/?platform=hootsuite

Main picture: Viper’s bugloss: Caption: Carder bee on viper’s bugloss. Picture: Blooms for Bees

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Steve Ott

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