Bumblebees are some of our most familiar insects, and are among the few that are almost universally viewed as 'friendly' – their low buzzing is the quintessential sound of our gardens in the summertime.
RSPB Spotlight: Bumblebees considers all 24 UK bumblebee species, examining what made the group so successful and how circumstances have led to the survival of some species but the precipitous decline of the majority, highlighting the dangers we all face if populations continue to plummet. Separate chapters cover all aspects of bumblebees' biology and lifestyles, from spring queens emerging from dark overwintering chambers to establish their nests, to the drone swarms that herald the end of the bumblebee season. Bumblebees around the world are studied, including in the southern hemisphere where Europe's declining species can become harmful invaders. While the influence of bumblebees throughout our history and their place in our culture, from Shakespeare to Transformers, is also examined.
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Richard Comont is an ecologist and works as a data collection monitor for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. Richard has a PhD in Entomology from the University of Oxford. He writes a wildlife blog and is a regular 'Local Patch' contributor to BBC Wildlife magazine.