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.
As we approach Christmas and the end of the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme’s fifth survey year, it seems worth reflecting not just on where we have got to with this years’ samples and survey data (more below), but on our collective achievements to date.
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).
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.
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.