Help protect bees in 2021 by recording the species you observe close to home. Right across the North East, every record counts. Spread the word and join the North East Bee Hunt.

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Target Species to search for

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Months to take part

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Records shared so far

Every Record Counts

Bees play an important role in the environment. To protect them, we need to know where they are. In 2021, we need your help to record bees across the North East.

Many species are under-recorded in the North East. Your observations hold the key to revealing the mysteries surrounding bees across the region, from the Tees to the Tweed.

Urban or rural, beginner or expert, by taking part in the North East Bee Hunt, you’ll not only increase knowledge and understanding of these amazing insects but help protect bees for years to come.

Red-tailed Bumblebee © Charlotte Rankin

Discover the North East Bee Hunt

Explore how you can help monitor the North East’s bees this spring and summer.

Broken-belted Bumblebee © Louise Hislop

Share your records

Taking part in the bee hunt is simple. Find a bee, take a photo, and submit your record to iRecord.

Sightings of all bee species are welcome. Whether you’ve spotted one of the target species, or something else, you can share your sighting below.

Please note that only records submitted to the North East Bee Hunt iRecord activity will count towards the project.

If you have an iRecord account, you can add the Bee Hunt to your Activities by joining here and click on the blue ‘Join’ button. You can then access the bee recording form via your Activities page on iRecord.

Male Tree Bumblebee © Charlotte Rankin

Meet our target species

In 2021, we need your help to record eight distinctive yet overlooked bee species across the North East.

From the bumblebee-like Fork-tailed Flower Bee to the striking Red-tailed Cuckoo Bee, all of these species are likely to be encountered in gardens and green spaces close to home.

Meet this year’s North East Bee Hunt target species and find out how to identify them below.

Orange-tailed Mining Bee © Christopher Wren

Help identifying bees

Download a new bee identification guide (PDF) to help you identify this year’s target species or view the target species profiles.

Records of all bee species can be submitted to the North East Bee Hunt.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust also has a handy crib sheet (PDF) to help you identify common bumblebees.

If you’re unsure which bee you’ve seen, you can email us any time at nhsn.volunteer1@newcastle.ac.uk or contact us on social media.

Hairy-footed Flower Bee © Chris Wren

Bee basics›

When getting to grips with bee identification, it is useful to understand the basic parts that make up a bee and their life cycles. 

Explore bee basics as Charlotte Rankin introduces the anatomy and life cycle of the North East’s iconic pollinators.

Explore bee basics ›

Tawny Mining Bee © Matt Williamson

New to iRecord?›

iRecord is a national platform collating the observations and records of citizen scientists across the country. It helps your records get to where they need to be – informing conservation and research nationwide.

New to iRecord? Here’s what you need to know to get started

How to use iRecord…›

Early Bumblebee © Christopher Wren

Your 2020 results›

From March through to September 2020, 2,451 bee records were shared by 170 naturalists across the region.

These records stretched from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Middlesbrough, from the uplands to the coast, and reaffirmed the importance of gardens and local greenspace for bees.

Explore the results… ›

More on North East bees

Delve into the world of bees and explore a range of helpful articles compiled by naturalists, enthusiasts and bee-lovers across the North East.

Citizen Science ›
At the height of spring, queen bumblebees are out in force. Local naturalist, Charlotte Rankin, guides you through seven queen bumblebees you are likely to encounter this spring….
Invertebrates ›
White-tailed bees can be a confusing bunch. Learn to identify some of the most frequently encountered species in a new post by Charlotte Rankin….
Invertebrates ›
Take a closer look at three species of mining bee that can be found in your garden…
Invertebrates ›
Viper’s Bugloss is widely considered to be one of the best native plants for pollinators. Local naturalist, Christopher Wren, highlights bee diversity on this beautiful and beneficial plant…
Invertebrates ›
An introduction to the first of your North East Bee Hunt target species: the Ashy Mining Bee…
Invertebrates ›
An introduction to the second of our North East Bee Hunt target species: the Red Mason Bee…
Invertebrates ›
Leafcutter bees are a prominent sight in summer. Learn to spot these eye-catching pollinators in a blog by Charlotte Rankin….
Invertebrates ›
Discover bee diversity in the city as James Common highlights the bee species observed on his street in Heaton, Newcastle…
Invertebrates ›
Uncover the species likely to be found in your bee hotel in a new post from local entomologist, Louise Hislop…
Invertebrates ›
Discover seven rare North East bees you could find in your own garden…
Invertebrates ›
Naturalist, Louise Hislop, introduces the North East’s overlooked & under-recorded small bees…
Invertebrates ›
Discover the large and elusive Red-tailed Cuckoo Bee and its history, distribution and future in the North East…
Archive & Library ›
We’ve asked NHSN members to tell us about their favourite field guides for the garden or on walks close to home. In this post, Rinke Vinkenoog suggests guides for identifying bees….
Invertebrates ›
Charlotte Rankin introduces a small and industrious group of bees you could encounter in your garden throughout August…
Invertebrates ›
Can you help track the changing distribution of one of the North East’s rarest bee species?…