Monday, 27 June 2016

Spot the bee: scientists release hundreds of numbered bees in London and offer £100 prizes for pictures

Sarah Knapton, science editor 
20 JUNE 2016 • 4:56PM

“2 bee, or not 2 bee?” That is the question Londoners could be asking when trying to spot one of hundreds of specially numbered bees which are being released into the capital.

Biologists at Queen Mary University of London have super-glued ‘licence plates’ to 500 bees and will be sending them off from campus rooftops on Tuesday June 21 as part of a project to uncover the secret lives of the insects. Hundreds more will follow in the coming weeks.
To encourage a city-wide bee hunt, the university is awarding prizes of £100 vouchers for the best pictures of the special insects. 

The London Pollinator Project is trying to locate the bees’ preferred patches in the capital  and discover which are their favourite flowers.  

Britain’s bees are under threat – but we can all play a part in helping them by creating bee-friendly gardens and other spaces.Dave Timms, Friends of the Earth

Armed with the knowledge, the researchers can improve planting schemes to help populations thrive.

Project leader Professor Lars Chittka, from the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, said: "The fact that the bees have individual 'license plates' will allow anyone interested to develop their own science project, and ask scientific questions about the behaviour of bees.
“For example, citizen scientists might be intrigued to see the same bee return to their balcony and might record when during the day, how many times and which flowers they prefer.

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