Nature-lovers are being encouraged to take part in Friends of the Earth’s Great British Bee Count between May 17 and June 30 2018.

The Great British Bee Count helps people find out about the amazing bees that can be found throughout the UK and discover more about their incredible diversity, the threats they face, and what we can all do to help them.

Everyone can help bees by creating bee-friendly spaces in their gardens, schools and patios, as well as other open spaces.

By downloading a free, fun and easy-to-use app people of all ages can identify and learn about the precious pollinators that visit the UK's gardens, parks and countryside. Participants can record each species of bees they spot and send in photos.

From the Shetlands to the Isles of Scilly, more than 16,000 people took part in Great British Bee Count 2017, recording over 300,000 bees.

Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth chief executive said: “Bees play a crucial role pollinating our food and plants – but we must do more to look after them.

“I hope as many people as possible will take part in the Great British Bee Count, find out more about these fascinating insects and create bee-friendly spaces to help them thrive.”

Friends of the Earth has a number of simple tips on how to help bees. Habitat loss is one of the biggest threats bees face, which is why Friends of the Earth’s Great British Bee Count is urging people to create pollinator-friendly gardens, schools and other open spaces.

Get inspiration for creating a bee-friendly haven or try these simple tips:

• Grow pollen and nectar-rich plants: Different bee species prefer different flower shapes, so aim for a range from tubular-shaped flowers to open-headed flowers. As well as flowers, try shrubs, herbs, trees, fruit and veg. Spring and autumn flowering bulbs are also great.

• Plant through the seasons as bees need food all year round, so grow flowers, shrubs and bulbs to offer a welcome for bees in the colder months.

• No garden? Plant up a pot or window box with lavender, heathers, nasturtiums, sunflowers and bulbs like crocuses, as well as herbs.

• Grow flowering herbs like chives, sage, marjoram, mint and thyme, and rosemary if you have more space.

• Learn to love a few weeds as dandelions and clover are great source of food for bees.

• Avoid using chemical pesticides, especially those containing bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides.

• Give bees a drink in hot weather by providing a shallow bowl of clean rainwater with a few pebbles for the bees to land on.

Register for the Great British Bee Count at