New poll released to mark the start of Great British Bee Count shows almost 50pc of people asked could not identify a honeybee

Common carder bee photographed by David Podmore in Amersham, Buckinghamshire and submitted to the Gr

Common carder bee photographed by David Podmore in Amersham, Buckinghamshire and submitted to the Great British Bee Count 2015For use only with reference to the Great British Bee Count and David Podmore must be credited. - Credit: Archant

We may often think of ourselves as a nation of bee lovers.

But a new survey suggests a striking lack of knowledge when it comes to telling your honeybee from your bumblebee, and other species.

The poll has been released today to mark the start of the Great British Bee Count 2016, which sees thousands taking park to record sightings.

It comes at a time of concern over bee numbers, with several populations in decline.

The YouGov poll, organised by Friends of the Earth, saw participants shown pictures of a honeybee, a tawny mining bee, hoverfly and a bumblebee.


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Almost half (43pc) mistakenly chose a bumblebee when asked to identify a honey bee. Just a third correctly chose a honeybee.

Thirteen percent said Tawny Mining Bee, which 2pc suggesting it was a hoverfly. Nine percent did not hazard a guess.

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As part of the bee count - which runs until June 30 - members of the public are encouraged to download a free app and start recording bees they spot in their gardens, parks, schools and countryside. Over 100,000 individual bee sightings were recorded last year.

In total, the UK has more than 250 bee species, but experts warn they are facing various threats. Dave Goulson, who specialises in the ecology and conservation of bumblebees and is a professor at the University of Sussex, said: 'Britain's bees are facing multiple threats, from loss of flower meadows and quiet places to nest, and from the many pesticides used in most modern farming.'

Broadcaster Michaela Strachan, who is supporting the initiative, said: 'There are two very easy ways that you can do your bit. You can help to create bee friendly habitats and you can get involved in bee counts. Bees are great for gardens so choose bee-friendly plants and see how many bees you can attract.'

Have you got a story about nature? Email sophie.biddle@archant.co.uk

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