Pollinator Monitoring in Northern Ireland

There is widespread concern over the status of pollinators, as many insect groups including bees, butterflies, moths and hoverflies have declined dramatically in the UK and globally both in their abundance and diversity, with wild bees (bumblebees and solitary bees) showing amongst the most severe declines of any UK pollinator. We need to have a better understanding of threats and the rate of decline to be able to effectively prevent further extinctions, and restore sustainable pollinator populations in our countryside

Following the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme, we aim to gather vital data on the abundance of bees, hoverflies and other flower-visiting insects across Northern Ireland. Help us to measure the health of Northern Ireland’s pollinators by taking part in an easy-to-do survey, the Flower-Insect Timed Count (FIT Count).

How to do our pollinator survey

If you can spare ten minutes to sit and watch insects and flowers you can carry out a FIT Count (Flower-Insect Timed Count)!  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 any time from April to September.  Please do as many FIT counts as you can – at the same location, or lots of locations – the more information that you can send us, the better understanding we will have about how our pollinators are faring.

Want to get involved?

Take part in the “FIT Count” – download materials here:

Fit Count Simple Instructions

FIT Count Recording Form to use during the count

FIT Count online data submission form 

FIT Count Survey Guidance

FIT Count – guide to identifying the different insect groups

For each FIT Count that you do, please add the results to our online recording form.

Take part in the “FIT Count”:

  1. Read the instructions or watch the video below.

  1. Wait for a good day. The weather should be warm and dry.


  1. Find a location containing target flowers. Your location can be anywhere e.g., garden, farm, park, school. You will need to watch insects in a 50cm by 50cm square patch.


  1. Take a photo of your target flower patch.


  1. Print out the recording form and fill in the background information about the weather and your flower patch.


  1. Set a timer for 10 minutes.


  1. Count every insect that lands on the flowers of your target species within the 50x50cm patch.


  1. Add your results to the online form.


  1. Repeat over time at the same location (or very nearby). You can use different target flowers at different times of year

How to identify basic pollinator groups

This survey is a collaboration between the National Biodiversity Data Centre and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. It is also supported by the Irish Wildlife Trust, Butterfly Conservation NI, The National Trust and the Centre for Environmental Data and Recording in NI (CEDaR).

It follows the methodology of the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme (PoMS) and data for Northern Ireland will be shared directly with PoMS. We thank them for their generosity in sharing resources.

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