comprehensive photographic field guide to the British bumblebee,
'Field Guide to the Bumblebees of Great Britain and Ireland'
published on Thursday (24 March 2005) uses for the first time
a new three-step way to identify bees doing away with the need
to put bees under the microscope.
The new technique could help an army of amateur naturalists and professional
field workers in the front line of monitoring decades of decline in Britain's
native bumblebees. Information about distribution and numbers can be a bit patchy
as some rarer bumblebees have been quite difficult to identify.
Follow three simple steps.
" Step one - look for presence of and number of yellow bands on thorax and find
on colour chart
" Step two - cross check with pattern on abdomen and accompanying notes on colour
" Step three - confirm identification with photographs and species accounts
The easy-to-use graphic guide has been developed by leading authority Mike Edwards,
and entomologist and former secretary of the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society,
Martin Jenner. Martin Jenner, a science marketing consultant, came up with the
strong visuals that makes the three-step identification guide so simple to use.
Mr Jenner explained: "Traditional taxonomic guides are quite slow to use. We
wanted something quick and easy. Pop the bumblebee into a test tube and have
a good look for the presence of and number of yellow bands on its thorax. Then
cross reference with patterns on the abdomen. Using the colour chart allows you
to quickly identify most species. And finally check against the species accounts
and it's as easy as one, two bee!"
Martin collaborated with leading bee specialist Mike Edwards to put together
the authoritative field guide. It includes more than 90 stunning colour photographs
taken by top bee photographer Ted Benton of both sexes of all 22 known species,
life history, conservation action and how to attract bumblebees to your garden.
The idea to publish the field guide with support from English Nature - the Government's
wildlife advisor, came after thousands of people requested their new leaflet
listing garden plants that provide food for bees.
Dr David Sheppard, English Nature's authority on bees, said: "This book is the
only one that introduces new information and corrects old mistakes and will hopefully
help provide us with up to date information about bumblebee populations in the
Scientists recently recorded a 300 fold increase in the number of bumblebees
visiting plants in 6m x 100m margins grown in agricultural fields using a cheap
legume mix in Romney Marsh, Kent. Now English Nature is campaigning to use farm
subsidies to pay farmers to help provide more foraging for bees.
Northern Bee Books
Publishers of The Beekeepers Annual & Beekeepers Quarterly
Stockest of books for beekeepers
Scout Bottom Farm
Hebden Bridge HX7 5JS (UK)
Tel +44 (0) 1422 882751
Fax +44 (0) 1422 886157