B&Q is backing the first Great British Bee Count, which runs until the end of August, to help scientists build a nationwide picture of bee health.
Friends of the Earth, B&Q and Buglife have developed a free smartphone app to enable people to easily identify bees and log sightings as part of the organisations’ work to reverse the severe decline in bee populations in recent years.
By reporting the type, numbers and locations of bees they see, people will be contributing data to the National Biodiversity Network, used by scientists investigating the plight of bees and the steps needed to help them.
More than 20 UK bee species are already extinct and about a quarter of the remaining 267 species are at risk.
The Great British Bee Count results will be published in the autumn and could help inform action taken by the Government as part of its National Pollinator Strategy for protecting bees and other pollinators.
Professor Dave Goulson said: "The Great British Bee Count is a fantastic excuse to get outside and see bees in action – they’re fascinating, beautiful and do a vital job.
"The data that people collect will do an important job to help scientists fill in the blanks about where bees are thriving – and where they’re in trouble."
B&Q soical repsonsibility director Matt Sexton said:"As the UK’s largest garden centre, we’re proud to be a partner of the Great British Bee Count. We’ve been concerned for many years about declining bee health, which is why we work closely with Friends of the Earth.
"We know how vital bees are to keeping our gardens and countryside healthy and there’s lots gardeners can do, with our help, to support hungry bees, such as planting bee friendly plants, starting a bee café and planting a Friends of the Earth Bee World."