Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Take part in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Canada’s wild native bees are in trouble – can you help?

Take part in Friends of the Earth’s Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count from July to August!

Our mobile app and downloadable Bumble Bee Census Cards for Eastern or Western Canada will get you off to a buzzing start.

Just like governments need a census to know what’s happening with its citizens, as well as their homes, families and jobs, we think bumble bees need their own census.  Not enough is known about wild, native bees in Canada, and what scientists do know is worrying. By taking part, you’ll learn about over 40 species of Canada’s bumble bees and ways you can help them.

By acting together to save the bees and other pollinators, we can make a difference for our food security, for wildlife and, overall, to protect biodiversity.




The Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count in numbers

Friends of the Earth’s 2017 Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count produced important findings that match the general scientific knowledge about the abundance of bee species in their respective locations.


Why take part in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count?

As many as one-third of North American bumble bee species are in decline.

The Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count aims to raise awareness about the importance and conservation requirements of Canada’s over 40 species of bumble bees.  Bumble bees are crucial pollinators. Because they are capable of buzz pollination, they are particularly effective at pollinating a number of wildflowers, fruits and vegetables.

By taking part in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count, you can help us learn more about bumble bees and their needs.

Canada already has one officially designated endangered bee, the Rusty-patched bumble bee last seen in 2009 in Pinery Provincial Park near Grand Bend, Ontario. This is a grim situation for a once abundant bumble bee – nothing to celebrate.

Now, there are six wild bee species determined to be critically at risk (assessed by scientists with the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada). They need protection by governments. These bees are still waiting to be officially listed under the Species at Risk Act to trigger protection and recovery work. Friends of the Earth and other groups have advised the federal Environment Minister to act now.  And, if you find one of the four bumble bees on this list, please take a picture and submit your Census Form to Friends of the Earth.  It will help scientists determine where and how best to protect them.


 How does the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count work?

Simply download the Bumble Bee Census Card for Eastern or Western Canada. Print it to record your bee sightings and observation notes.



Grab your camera, head outside and start looking for bees. Check out some tips for spotting and tips for taking photographs!



Note the date and location of your bumble bee sighting. Include other observation notes such as the weather, floral hosts, number of bumble bees spotted etc.



Use our online Bumble Bee Identification Guides to further help identify and submit all of your information on our online Census Form:



Share your photos on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #BumbleBeeCount to help motivate more participants to join in.



Download the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count app! (available soon)


Who can take part?

Anyone can get involved.  Whether you are new to the wonderful world of bees or already able to tell a Common eastern bumble bee from a Yellow-banded bumble bee, we need your help. Join in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count!


How will Friends of the Earth use the photos and data submitted?

Friends of the Earth works with scientists who will use the submissions and observations in their work to assess how best to protect and support wild, native bees.

Friends of the Earth’s 2017 poll on wild bees revealed that Canadians care deeply about bees but know very little about them – not even names. So, for 2018 we are focusing on education; submitted photos and observations will be used in new educational projects.

Friends of the Earth Canada reserves the non-exclusive right to publish and/or use any photo(s) submission for any lawful purpose, including for example such purpose as publicity, illustration, advertising and web and social media content.


More ways to help bees


If you have any questions about the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count, please contact us by email at or by calling 613 241-0085.