Scientists to compare insects visiting allotments in Brighton & India

Honeybee pollinating blackberry flowers

Scientists at the University of Sussex are to compare allotments in Brighton and India in a bid to learn more about the insects that pollinate our food.

Academics from the University’s Team PollinATE are looking for allotment growers in Brighton to volunteer to become 'citizen scientists' for the new project, which will compare plots in the city to urban farms in Calcutta, India.

Every fortnight, throughout July until the end of September, growers in Brighton and Calcutta will be asked to count of the number and types of insects visiting the flowering crops in their allotment, in order to help scientists at the University understand more about pollinator behaviour and how best to protect these insects. Volunteers will also be asked to keep track of how much food they harvest from their plots.

By comparing the results, the scientists from the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme hope to find out how much food is grown in urban areas in both cities, and how this contributes to sustainable, local food production in each country. By counting pollinators, volunteers will help Team PollinATE to collect much needed data on urban insect populations, as well as learning more about the insects that visit their farms and allotments.

Dr Beth Nicholls, from Team PollinATE at the University of Sussex, said: “Pollinating insects are vital to the production of many of the foods we grow in our gardens and allotments.

“We really want to find out how much food is grown in urban areas, and exactly which type of insects are responsible for pollinating different crops.”

If you own an allotment in Brighton you can sign up to volunteer with Team PollinATE today by visiting the website at

By: Lynsey Ford
Last updated: Friday, 14 July 2017