Identifying pollinators

The Polli:Nation survey is a large-scale national survey that will provide answers to important research questions about the health and status of pollinating insects across the UK.

You can contribute to this research by becoming a citizen scientist and surveying your local patch (school grounds, park or garden) for pollinators.


Identifying pollinators can feel hard.  See our top tips to help get you started.

Download identification guides, recording sheets and picture guides to help you become pollination experts.

DOWNLOAD – Pollinator fact sheets and identification chart. Bees, butterflies and beetles… go and see what you can find.

DOWNLOAD – Loving learning about bees? Have a closer look at bumblebees with this guide from Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Even more information can be found here on their website.


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DOWNLOAD – Loving learning about butterflies? Have a closer look at butterflies with this guide from the Butterfly Conservation.

Even more information can be found here on their website.

Bees or flies (hoverflies or otherwise) – Zoom your eyes in on the antennae length and eye size these are the most important features to decide whether you are looking at a BEE or FLY.

There are more than 260 species of BEE in the UK.

DOWNLOAD – Download the pictures and begin learning about some of our most common butterflies and moths.

Why should I take part?

The OPAL Pollination survey gives you the opportunity to learn about pollinators and your local environment, get outside and learn new skills, whilst contributing to important scientific research. No prior experience is necessary to take part in the survey.

How do I take part?

  • Step 1 – Download and print the documents in English or in Welsh , ideally in colour.
  • Step 2 – Find a suitable area and start looking for pollinators!
  • Step 3 – Tell us what you find using our simple online form.

What do I need to take part?

If you are surveying alone you will need just the Survey Booklet and Identification Guide. If you are running the survey as a group leader please download all four documents.

I have finished the survey what should I do next?

Once you have completed the survey, please tell us what you found using our simple online form.

Alternatively, please send your completed survey to the following Freepost address:

Freepost RSCH-CKYJ-HYYC, OPAL, Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London, London, SW7 2AZ

And remember, if you plan to make habitat improvements to your survey site, please re-survey your site the following year. It will help us build a clearer picture of how habitat changes are affecting the abundance of pollinators.

If you enjoyed this survey, why not try another? Find other OPAL surveys available here.

Just want to submit a Species Quest sighting?

Use the form below to tell us about a Species Quest pollinator you’ve spotted outside the survey. Please include a photo if you can.

Find data you have entered or see what others have found