With contributions from Dave Goulson and Gill Perkins, founder and CEO of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust respectively, this illustrated pocket guide is the ideal companion for anyone interested in the naturally occurring species of bumblebee that can be found in the British Isles.
Thanks to their iconic furry jackets and low hum that embodies the sound of summer, bumblebees are some of the most charismatic and friendly insects you're likely to encounter in Britain.
Presented in the same portable and accessible format as the Pocket Guide to the Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland by the same author, with a double-page spread dedicated to each species, this guide to bumblebees will appeal to both beginners and more experienced hymenopterists alike. It features stunning artwork by the world-renowned invertebrate artist Richard Lewington, covering the males and queens of all British true bumblebee and cuckoo bee species, alongside their common colour variations.
The introduction includes a double-page spread of the 'big 7' species that are most likely to be encountered in gardens, and additional sections clearly explain how the reader can differentiate between the sexes and recognise true bumblebees from cuckoo bees. The 'at-a-glance' guide provides a quick reference to species grouped by tail colour. Identification can then be confirmed by following the reference page number to the appropriate species.
Each species account includes a detailed description covering field characteristics, habitat and distribution, nest, flowers visited, parasites and similar species, and is accompanied by a seasonal flight chart and up-to-date distribution map. Species accounts are interspersed with spreads showing similar, confusion species, grouped together for direct comparison, and are followed by an illustrated section showing bumblebee mimics and lookalikes.
How to use this guide
Structure and anatomy
Bumblebee - female or male?
True bumblebee or cuckoo bee?
The life-cycle of a true bumblebee
The life-cycle of a cuckoo bee
The big 7 garden bumblebees
Mimics and lookalikes
Gardens and bumblebees
Further reading and resources
Richard Lewington is an acknowledged leader in the field of insect illustration. His meticulous paintings of wildlife are the mainstay of many of the modern classics of field-guide art, including The Butterflies of Britain and Ireland, Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland, Guide to Garden Wildlife and Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland. Richard has also designed and illustrated wildlife stamps for several countries. In 1999 he was awarded Butterfly Conservation's Marsh Award for the promotion of Lepidoptera conservation, and in 2010 the Zoological Society of London's Stamford Raffles Award for contribution to zoology.
"[...] The small size, accessible format and wealth of fine illustrations and line drawings help differentiate this charming book from its predecessors. Reliance on illustrations rather than photographs certainly give it a distinct advantage because the presentation of key identification features is much clearer than can usually be achieved in a photograph. Although it employs the same information as that presented by Falk's guide, it is more accessible in that it separates different bumblebees into similar groups based on colour and relatively easily appreciated structural features rather than using the more technical, key-based approach [...]"
– Allan Drewitt, Atropos 72, 2023