Researchers from zoology at NUI Galway have launched an online nationwide citizen survey of bees, the first in Europe.

They are inviting people throughout Ireland to participate in the survey by recording their sightings online of wild honey bee colonies.

The survey is being conducted in collaboration with the National Biodiversity Data Centre, the Native Irish Honey Bee Society and the Federation of Irish Beekeeping Associations.

99 species

Of the 99 species of bee in Ireland, there is only one native wild honey bee, a sub-species called Apis mellifera mellifera or the northern black bee, which is considered extinct in the wild across much of its European range.

The public are asked to get in touch through the website with reported sightings of wild honey bees living anywhere other than a beehive.

The researchers are seeking the following data from the public:

  • A photo/description of the colony entrance, its location and how long it has been there.
  • Additional useful information sought includes: how high off the ground it is; what direction the entrance is facing; are the honey bees behaving aggressively; and has a beekeeper taken a swarm from the colony.
  • Honey bees typically like nesting in elevated cavities, such as hollows in trees, walls and roofs of buildings, old houses and castles, and can be particularly noticeable when workers are seen frequently flying to and from the nest entrance on warm sunny days.

    To participate in the survey and record sightings, visit:

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