BeeWatch is now participating in the X-Polli:Nation project aimed at creating and monitoring pollinator-friendly habitats in school grounds. As part of X-Polli:Nation, we have put together an improved set of training tools for learning to identify bumblebees as well as common butterfly species. Note that a new login needs to be created for X-Polli:Nation

This interactive tool helps you explore the plants favoured by all our different bumblebee species. You can use this for planting advice or just to learn more about plants, bumblebees and environmental concerns surrounding pollinator decline. No login required, just click on the link.

All you need to do is submit a photo with a date and location. Then you can use our simple online guide of the 22* UK bumblebee species to help you to identify your bumblebee. BeeWatch will comfirm or complete your identification and give you formative feedback on useful identification features as well as plant species favoured by this bumblebee. Read more here about NLG the computer technology underlying the feedback generation.

If your photo is clear enough for a definite identification it will become a record in BeeWatch and on the National Biodiversity Network. Learn more about photographing bumblebees here.

Take part and we can expand BeeWatch and further increase our knowledge of bumblebees in the UK. Find out how it works here.

You can also use our training tool to practise identifying bumblebees from photos.

For more information about the amazing lives of bumblebees please visit


You will need to login (or sign up) to submit photos or identifications.

Planting for pollinators does not require a login.

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Natural Language Generation (NLG) is a technology that analyses data to generate text. In BeeWatch NLG is used to generate feedback to participants. Immediately on submission, submitters who offer an identification of the bumblebee species receive feedback that contextualises the record with respect to historical data held by BeeWatch and the NBN. BeeWatch will then verify the species and come back to the submitter by email. The email text is also composed by a computer, but edited by an expert where needed. When BeeWatch determines the bumblebee to be a different species than indicated by the submitter, differences in identification features between the two bumblebees are used as data that form the basis of a text. This text is subsequently organised, screened against linguistics and finally embedded in a wider feedback message which the expert uses as basis of the feedback emailed to the submitter. This allows our experts to concentrate on the identification and enables feedback that is much richer than otherwise would be the case due to time and resource constraints. We are continuing development of the NLG, and you can expect to see more contextualised feedback soon.
* There are 25 bumblebee species as the White-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum s.l.) is a species complex which is thought to include three virtually indistinguishable species Bombus lucorum s.s., Bombus magnus and Bombus cryptarum. Additionally, the Short-haired bumblebee (Bombus subterraneus), has recently been re-introduced to the UK.
Crowd sourcing is the practice of obtaining information from a large group of people, often on-line. We are developing this practice for small groups of people with an interest in bumblebees, which one could call Group sourcing. BeeWatch needs such an approach because more and more people are submitting photos and we want to scale this up even further to obtain as much information as possible on the geographic spread of these important pollinators. Rather than having a few experts attempting to identify thousands of photos, we ask other people to suggest identifications. For many bumblebee species this leads to clear ‘majority votes’ in which case there is little use for an expert. In other cases, opinions are divided and an expert will conduct the identification.