About FIT Counts
- FIT Counts are open to everyone
- You can do a 10-minute FIT Count at any time between the 1st April and the 30th September
- Your location can be anywhere e.g., garden, farm, park, school, business site
- You don’t need to identify the insects to species level, but only to tally within broad groups e.g., bumblebee, butterflies & moths, wasp, beetle
- Watch our short video for more details and see the step-by-step guide and resources sections below
- From 2022, a new FIT Count app allows you to take a FIT Count and upload the results in one go
- FIT Counts for Northern Ireland should be submitted to the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme
This survey follows the methodology of the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme. We thank them for their generosity in sharing resources. They also developed the FIT Count app for use within Ireland.
FIT Count app
A new app is available for Ireland that allows you to carry out a FIT Count and upload the results in one go.
- Download Android app from Google Play
- Download Apple (iPhone/iPad) app from the App Store
- All FIT Count data can be entered in the field – no internet signal required
- Counts can be uploaded immediately if you have data/Wifi. They can also be stored within the app for upload when you return to base
- Includes insect groups identification guide
- Can use device GPS to automatically record your location
Note: If you do not have internet in the field, the initial map will appear blank but it does still work if your location is on.
Once your Counts have been saved and uploaded, you will be able to view them via this website: https://fitcount.ceh.ac.uk. If you need to edit your Count after uploading from the app, you will need to register on this website, using the same email address that you used to register on the app. You can also download your own FIT Count data from the website. All data submitted from Ireland is directly available to the National Biodiversity Data Centre.
We express our sincere thanks to the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme and to the EU SPRING project who developed a version of the app for use within Ireland.
- This survey takes place between the beginning of April and the end of September. Wait for a good day. The weather should be warm and dry.
- If the sky is clear (less than half cloud) the minimum temperature for a count is 13˚C
- If the sky is cloudy (half cloud of more) the minimum temperature for a count is 15˚C
- Find a location containing target flowers. Your location can be anywhere e.g., garden, farm, park, school. You will need to watch insects in a 50cm by 50cm square patch
- Try to select one of these 15 target flowers: Buttercup, Dandelion, Hawthorn, Bramble, Lavender, Hogweed, Knapweed, Ragwort, White Dead-nettle, White clover, Red Clover, Buddleja, Heather, Thistle, Ivy
- If you cannot find any of these flowers at your location it is fine to choose another flower that is attracting insects
- Download and open the FIT Count app
- Start the survey and select your habitat
- Take a photo of your target flower and fill in the information about your flower patch
- The timer will start for 10 minutes. Stand close enough to the patch so that you can see insects landing on the flowers but don’t lean over the top of the patch as this can prevent insects from visiting
- Count every insect that lands on one of the flowers of your target species within the 50x50cm patch.
- Try to count each individual insect just once. If a bumblebee goes from flower to flower in your patch that just counts as one.
- Count the total number of insects by tapping on the app screen. Allocate each to one of the 10 different insect groups as best you can (we don’t expect you to be an expert).
- It may be the case that no insects visit in the 10 minutes. This is still a valid result and should be submitted to us.
- Fill in details about the weather during your count
- Save your count on the app and upload the data to us. Data can be stored on the app and uploaded at any time. Once uploaded, login to the website at https://fitcount.ceh.ac.uk/ to see, edit or download your FIT Count data.
- If you can carry out multiple counts e.g. once a month or even once a week during the year that would be fantastic and will add value to your data. The most useful counts are those that are repeated over time at the same location (or very nearby). You can use different target flowers at different times of year.
If you prefer not to use the app, you can print out a recording form (below), take a photo of your target flower, and submit the data online at: https://records.biodiversityireland.ie/record/fit-count
2022 FIT Counts
In 2022, 673 validated FIT Counts were submitted by 137 different volunteers. The average number of insects per FIT Count was 8. The most common insect group recorded were bumblebees, and the most common habitat FIT Counts were carried out in was gardens. See the newsletter for results of the scheme in 2022.
Never hesitate to get in touch if you need any help: firstname.lastname@example.org