Specifically BeeWalk-focused FAQ: for general bumblebee-related questions, go here
Question not answered here? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to start a BeeWalk, but it's not March. Do I need to wait until next year? No, feel free to begin BeeWalking whatever the month! The field season starts in March, but you can start new transects whenever you like.
How do I find out if there is a transect close to me?
Log into the BeeWalk website
Go to the Data tab and select ‘explore records’
Create filter (top-right of the map)
Click on ‘when’ and for max. record age enter 12 months to see transects recording within the last year
Zoom in to your location (use the mouse scroll wheel or the slider on the left of the map)
Each transect is represented by a blue square, and if you zoom in far enough you can see the route
Does it matter if there is a transect close by? No, even if your transects cross the data is still valuable – having transects that are close to each other can helps us work out how bumblebees move through the landscape.
How can I be sure what habitat type I have on my transect? Use the Habitat and Landuse guidance form to select the closest habitat category. Email email@example.com if you need guidance.
There is only one habitat type on my transect, is this ok? This is fine, but please break the route into at least 3 sections (this makes it easier for us to know which part of the route you saw which bumblebees in). These could be marked by changes in the topography or landscape such as the end of a line of trees, or a change in direction of the route.
I'd like to attend training, is any available? We offer a variety of online and in person training events (funding dependent)
We will keep you up to date with upcoming training in the BeeWalk enewsletter.
Please see our events page for full details https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/events-calendar/
We have pre-recorded training sessions available anytime via our YouTube channel Bumblebee ID and BeeWalk training.
We are currently running monthly online BeeWalk guidance and support sessions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Transects and surveying:
What do I need to take on a survey? Make sure you are dressed for the weather and take suitable supplies such as sunscreen and water on warm days. Involvement in BeeWalk is at your own risk, please see the BeeWalk health and safety document to ensure you are safe on your surveys. Ensure you take a monthly recording sheet. If you would like to get a closer look at the bumblebees for identification purposes you can take a net and a pot, see our guidance video on catching a bumblebee for further details. Nets and pots can be purchased from a variety of retailers, see details on our Resources page.
How do I "do" a BeeWalk survey? Ensure you take a monthly recording sheet and complete all the survey details.
Ideally survey between 11am and 5pm on calm dry days
Walk your transect at a slow and steady pace
Count and record the bumblebees you see within your "recording box": The recording box is up to 4 meters ahead of you, 2m to each side and from ground level to 2m up.
Any bees you cannot confidently identify, record as unknown bumblebee and submit as Bumblebee/Bombus on the data entry page
White-tailed and Buff-tailed bumblebee workers (Bombus lucorum agg. and B. terrestris) are exceptionally difficult to confidently split in the field, so please submit as White/buff-tailed workers on the data entry page.
If you are surveying in a group, designate roles; one person acting as the spotter, one as the recorder, whilst the whole team can assist with identification.
Where possible take pictures of any bumblebees which seem unusual or you believe may be rare, we can use these at a later date to verify records.
Can I walk my transect more often than once a month? Yes! We ask for transects to be walked at least monthly, but more frequently is absolutely fine.
I'd like several people to walk the same transect at different times - can this be done? Yes - send us the transect name and the website usernames of the different recorders, and we'll set them all up on the same transect.
Can we walk our transect as a group? Yes - but to ensure consistency designate roles; one person acting as the spotter, one as the recorder, whilst the whole team can assist with identification. Having everyone spotting bumblebees will bias your results.
What do I do if the habitat or route changes permanently on my transect? Depending on the scale of the change we may be able to alter the transect slightly on the system or we may need to set up a new transect. Please email email@example.com for advice.
Submitting data and data access and analysis:
I have registered a new transect but it does not appear on the site drop down list when I want to submit data? New transects go through an approval process before data can be submitted, to ensure they meet the BeeWalk methodology. We do this as soon as we can and will email you once your transect is ready for data submission.
How do I complete the data entry section if I didn’t see any bees? Please still add the survey into the database by submitting the details of the walk (date, time, weather etc) and leave the species list blank and click next step, at this point you can leave a comment that you didn’t see any bees. This tells us that you did a survey that month but didn’t record any bees.
How I do I complete the data entry section if I saw a bumblebee but couldn’t identify it to species? In the species column enter Bumblebee or Bombus. Then select which section you saw the unidentified bumblebee in and enter how many of which caste (if known, if not put the number of individuals in the unknown column).
How I do I complete the data entry section if I saw bumblebees that I could not identify between White-tailed and Buff-tailed bumblebee workers (Bombus lucorum agg. and B. terrestris)? Please submit as White/buff-tailed workers on the data entry page. In the species column begin typing White/Buff, this will autofil with White/Buff-tailed worker. Then select which section you saw them in and enter how many you saw in the workers column.
Can I edit my data after I have submitted it? If the data you entered for a BeeWalk is incorrect, you can edit this via 'my walks', choosing the walk you need to correct, then re-enter the data and submit. This will overwrite the previous data submitted. Any corrections need to be made before the end of the year.
What happens to the data? Data is downloaded at the beginning of the year and undergoes verification and cleaning processes before it is available publicly and used for any analysis. Various statistical analysis is performed on the data to produce population trends, to see how each species is fairing. Analysis is published in the BeeWalk Annual Reports. We’re also investigating habitat use and flower visitation, among other things.
How and when can I access my own data records? Data is available once it has undergone cleaning, validation and verification processes in January each year. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org specifying the transect and we will send you your records in early spring.
When do I need to submit my data? Please enter your data as soon as possible after your month’s walk if at all possible, the sooner we receive data the better picture we get of the year so far for bumblebees. At the latest, please submit the data by the end of the year – we’ll send out a reminder at the end of the survey season.
How do I find out the latest results of the survey scheme? The mid-season BeeWalk e-newsletter provides an overview of the year so far for from the information submitted to date. Not on the BeeWalk enewsletter mailing list? If you'd like to receive this please email email@example.com and let us know. Full results are published in the BeeWalk Annual Reports.
I am a student and would like to use BeeWalk data in my research. Please see deatils on Projects of Interest here.