Skip to main content
Buff-tailed bumblebee on Knapweed

Blooms for Bees

A Citizen Science Project to Promote and Improve Gardening for Bumblebees


Heritage Lottery Fund and Coventry University

Project team

Gemma Foster, Judith Conroy, James Bennett, Barbara Smith


Royal Horticultural Society, Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Garden Organic

Duration of project

01/05/2016 - 01/05/2018


Blooms for Bees logo

Project overview

Bumblebees are important pollinating insects. Unfortunately, bumblebee populations have undergone drastic declines in the UK, with two species becoming extinct in the last 80 years, and 7 species being listed as conservation priorities under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP). Gardens and allotments are increasingly recognised as important habitats for bumblebees, but little is known about which species use these spaces, or which flowering plants are the most important sources of nectar and pollen.

Blooms for Bees promotes bee-friendly gardening and encourages citizen scientists from across the UK to explore the presence and floral preferences of bumblebees in their gardens and allotments in order to improve planting recommendations. The project created a range of high-quality digital outputs including an app, seven videos and a website, as well as planting displays at Ryton Organic Gardens and RHS Garden Wisley.

The project engaged directly with over 3,000 people, hosting two Bee Festivals, delivering eight bumblebee identification training workshops, running stalls at five events, and giving presentations at seven events across the UK. People continue to engage with the projects website, and YouTube videos which have received over 26,000 views.

Over 7,000 members of the public have downloaded the project app, submitting over 2,500 plant surveys and more than 5,000 bumblebee sightings, which have been verified by one of the UK’s leading bee experts, Steven Falk.

Findings and data are shared widely, in the popular press through publications such as Gardeners’ World Magazine, and with the scientific and academic community.

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023