The UK PoMS recording season runs from 1 April to 30 September each year, so we are not seeking any further counts in 2023, but we are already looking forward to starting the 2024 season next April! Read on for how to join in, and download the latest versions of the guidance documents.
Flower-Insect Timed Counts
Spend ten minutes watching flowers and insects in good weather! This simple survey collects data on the total number of insects that visit a particular flower, ideally chosen from our list of 14 target flowers. FIT Counts can be done anywhere, including gardens and parks, in warm, dry weather during daylight hours from 1 April to 30 September.
Every single count helps make our data more meaningful, and if you can carry out several counts at one location during that time you will be adding extra value to your survey records. All the information you need is provided in the survey materials that you can download below, and below that you can watch our video guides to get a flavour of what is involved.
In 2023 almost 600 people participated in the PoMS FIT Counts, contributing over 4,376 FIT Counts (that's equivalent to a month of counting all day every day!) - thank you.
Take part in the FIT Count - download materials here:
There were minor revisions to these PDF documents in 2023, but the FIT Count method has not changed, and if you have older copies of the documents they are fine to use.
- How to carry out the FIT Count
- Recording form to use during the count, or use the FIT Count app
- Guide to the flowers you can use for the count
- Guide to recognising the insect groups you need to count
See the latest surveys for this year on our FIT Counts map.
How to do a FIT Count
FIT Count insect groups
Ten steps to carrying out a FIT Count
Download a recording form and any guidance documents from the above links, or use the FIT Count app.
- FIT Counts take about 10–15 minutes, during which you are asked to count every insect that lands on the flowers of your chosen target flower species.
- You can complete a FIT Count in good weather between 1 April and 30 September.
- "Good weather" is dry, and with temperature at least 13°C in sunny conditions, or at least 15°C when cloudy.
- Choose just one type of flower as your target flower - where possible use one of the FIT Count target flowers, but if you can't find one from the list you can choose a different flower as the target.
- Mark out a 50 × 50 cm patch containing your target.
- Count the number of individual flowers for your target species that are within your patch.
- Set a timer for ten minutes, and count all insects that land on the target flowers (ignore other flowers, and do your best to count each individual insect once only!).
- Identify the insects into their broad groups (bumblebees, hoverflies etc.) – any that you don't recognise should be counted as "other insects".
- Fill in some simple weather details.
- Don't forget to send in your results via our enter FIT Counts form or app.