Using citizen science to understand the foraging habits of UK honeybees

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The National Honey Monitoring Scheme: Using citizen science to understand the foraging habits of UK honeybees

About this Event

Dr Anna Oliver is a senior molecular biologist working on the National Honey Monitoring Scheme at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH, Wallingford).

The scheme, backed by both the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) and the Bee Farmers Association (BFA), was set up in July 2018 and aims to monitor how the foraging habits of UK honeybees respond to a changing environment. Further, if these changes can be used to provide information on the health of our countryside. It is the first UK-wide analysis of its kind, and uses advanced DNA barcoding techniques to identify traces of pollen in honey. The scheme comes at a time when many species of insect pollinators are in decline in the UK.

2018 saw 200 beekeepers from across the UK participating and identified plants favoured by honeybees, regional differences in foraging habits as well as showing the importance of some invasive plant species. 2019 was an even better year with almost 600 beekeepers having submitted honey samples for analysis and the results generated clearly indicated forage patterns linked to both time of year and land use.

She will be presenting the story so far, with some additional detail especially for Somerset beekeepers.

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