Buttercups' glow attracts insects (and people)!

Holding a buttercup up to your chin has been said to show whether you like butter or not – lighting up your skin if you do. This evolutionary feat is a feature of Buttercup's petals, a trick of the light designed to catch the eye. FIT Counts show that this strategy works just as well for insects as it does for people, with 738 counts completed on Buttercups from 2017 to 2020 - the greatest number of FIT counts for a target flower!

Hurray for Hawthorns!

Hawthorn (Crataegus sp.), also called May-tree, is unmissable in May, with its beautiful and delicate flowers gracing roadsides and field boundaries up and down the country. Ever heard the old saying ‘Ne’er cast a clout till May be out’? It could simply mean ‘don’t take off your winter clothing until the end of May’ but there is another possible interpretation of the ‘until May is out’ part which is actually until the Hawthorn tree is out in flower.

Delightful dandelions

Dandelions seem to arouse strong feelings, both for and against, but for pollinating insects they are a delicious source of nectar and pollen! In this article Martin Harvey explores some of the ways in which insects and dandelions interact, and what you're likely to find during a dandelion FIT Count.

PoMS down the microscope

PoMS has represented a strong partnership between scientists, field surveyors and specialists, both volunteer and professional, since its design and testing phase in 2015. When it comes to identifying the bees and hoverflies from pan trap surveys, we work with a handful of experienced taxonomists through Hymettus Ltd, who take on the painstaking job of turning all our sodden specimens into real data in the space of a few weeks.

PoMS guide to identifying Ivy Bees

Ivy flowers provide an important late-season source of nectar and pollen for many insects. One insect that you may encounter on Ivy blossom is the Ivy Bee (Colletes hederae), a solitary bee species that was first found near the south coast of England in 2001 and has subsequently spread to many areas of England and Wales, with reports of potential sightings from Scotland this year (as yet not fully confirmed).

Last chance for FIT Counts in 2021!

The 2021 FIT Count season finishes at the end of September, so there's still time to try a count on Ivy flowers, which produce an average of 24 insects per 10-minute count, and other flower targets (such as Ragwort and Knapweed) are still flowering in some places. On Ivy you're likely to see plenty of wasps and maybe some Ivy Bees as well - see the PoMS flower charts for mode details.

Bees' Needs Week 12-18 July

This is an annual event organised by Defra in partnership with various organisations that have an interest in bees, including PoMS and many of our partners. It runs next week from Monday 12th to Sunday 18th July. There will be online activities and some in-person events as well.

The summary details are provided by Bumblebee Conservation Trust, and Buglife have set up some events for the week.