Flower-Insect Timed Counts (FIT Counts)

Flower-Insect Timed Counts (FIT Counts)

A Flower-Insect Timed Count (FIT Count) is a simple survey that collects data on the total number of insects that visit a particular flower, ideally chosen from the list of 14 target flowers.

Simply spend ten minutes watching flowers and counting insects in good weather!

FIT Counts can be done anywhere, including gardens and parks, in warm, dry weather during daylight hours from 1 April to 30 September. 

Every FIT count you do adds value to the survey data. If you can carry out multiple counts at a location, that will further enhance the value of the data you collect. Watch the video guides below and download the survey materials from the Resources section to learn everything you need to know to participate.

How to do a FIT Count

Watch the video on Youtube

Ten steps to carrying out a FIT Count

  1. FIT Counts take about 10–15 minutes, during which you count every insect that lands on the flowers of your chosen target flower species.
  2. You can complete a FIT Count between 1 April and 30 September anytime the weather is good.
  3. “Good weather” refers to dry conditions with a minimum temperature of 13°C in sunny weather or at least 15°C when cloudy.
  4. Download a recording form or the FIT Count app and any guidance documents you need (see the Resources section below).
  5. Choose a single species of flower as your target flower. Try to survey one of the recommended FIT Count target flower species. If you can’t find one of the flowers on the target flowers list, it’s okay to choose a different flower type as your target flower.
  6. Mark out a 50 × 50 cm patch containing flowers of your target species.
  7. Count the number of individual flowers for your target species that are within your patch.
  8. Set a timer for ten minutes, and count all the insects that land on the target flowers (ignore other flowers, and do your best to count each individual insect once only!). Identify the insects into their broad groups (bumblebees, hoverflies etc.) – any that you don’t recognise should be counted as “other insects”.
  9. Fill in some simple details about the weather.
  10. For each FIT Count that you do, please submit your results using the Enter FIT Counts form or use the FIT Count app for Android or iOS).

Get familiar with the FIT Count insect groups

Watch the video on Youtube

About the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme (UKPoMS)

Fit count surveys form part of the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme (UKPoMS), a partnership project coordinated by the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH).

UKPoMS started in 2017 and is the world’s first scheme to systematically generate data on the abundance of bees, hoverflies, and other flower-visiting insects at a national scale. 

The data collected by the scheme is complementary to the long-term occurrence records collated by the Bees, Wasps, and Ants Recording Society and the Hoverfly Recording Scheme. 

Together these data provide an invaluable resource for measuring trends in pollinator populations and targeting conservation efforts.

With reports of significant insect losses worldwide, and growing concern about how this impacts wider biodiversity and ecosystem health, it is essential that populations of pollinating insects are monitored.


Flower-Insect Timed Count quadrat