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British Wildlife

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British Wildlife is the leading natural history magazine in the UK, providing essential reading for both enthusiast and professional naturalists and wildlife conservationists. Published eight times a year, British Wildlife bridges the gap between popular writing and scientific literature through a combination of long-form articles, regular columns and reports, book reviews and letters.

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Conservation Land Management (CLM) is a quarterly magazine that is widely regarded as essential reading for all who are involved in land management for nature conservation, across the British Isles. CLM includes long-form articles, events listings, publication reviews, new product information and updates, reports of conferences and letters.

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Field Guides & Natural History  Insects & other Invertebrates  Insects  Bees, Ants & Wasps (Hymenoptera)

Solitary Bees

Series: New Naturalist Series Volume: 146
By: Ted Benton(Author), Nick Owens(Author)
596 pages, 358 colour photos and colour & b/w illustrations, 34 tables
Solitary Bees
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  • Solitary Bees ISBN: 9780008304577 Paperback May 2023 In stock
    £26.99 £34.99
  • Solitary Bees ISBN: 9780008304553 Hardback May 2023 In stock
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About this book

We have signed bookplates to accompany the book, available as long as stock lasts.

Bees, for most people, mean honey or bumble bees. In fact, the honey bees and bumblebees make up only a small proportion of the bee species that live in Britain, while the other bees are the great majority (230 or more species). Now it is recognised that these other bees play an important role in the pollination of crops and wild flowering plants. This has prompted much new research. A shift to gardening for wildlife has brought the solitary bees into sharper relief: many people now recognise mining bees, leaf-cutters and mason bees in their gardens, and even provide 'bee hotels' for them.

This book draws on the great wave of new knowledge to give a wonderful insight into the complicated lives of solitary bees. The main focus is on the wonderful fascination and complexity of the behaviour and ecology of this remarkable group of insects. It uses many of the authors' own observations alongside the studies provided by others, to discover the numerous strategies used by male bees to find females and persuade them to mate. It follows the females in their search for a place to make their nest, and their gathering of materials – symmetrical sections of leaves, mud, chewed-up leaf fragments, plant hair or resin – to make the cells into which they place a store of nectar and pollen and lay a single egg. We watch them sealing up the nest, securing it until the following year when the new generation appears. We explore the interactions between flowering plants and their bee visitors, asking what the plants get from the relationship, as well as how the bees select the plants they visit, and the ingenuity required to extract pollen, nectar and other rewards. Finally, we look at the places where bees flourish, highlighting what can be done to encourage bees and thus ensure they continue to pollinate our flowers and crops.


Editor's preface   vi
Author's Acknowledgements   viii

Introduction   1
1. The Diversity of Solitary Bees   27
2. Sex and the Solitary Bee   59
3. The Life Cycle: Nesting Behaviour and Development   101
4. From Solitary to Social and Back   159
5. Bees and Flowers, Part I   177
6. Bees and Flowers, Part II   235
7. Parasites and Predators   303
8. Cuckoo Bees   361
9. Time, Space and Temperature   405
10. Ecology and Conservation   455

List of British Solitary Bees   531
Glossary   538
References and Bibliography   540
Species Index   568
General Index   582

Customer Reviews


Ted Benton and Nick Owens are entomologists with a particular interest in behaviour and ecology. Ted’s previous volume in the New Naturalist series – Bumblebees – is a classic on this group of social bee species. This was followed by another New Naturalist: Grasshoppers & Crickets, again focusing on the insects’ complex social behaviour. Nick has recently written The Bees of Norfolk and The Bumblebee Book (both Pisces Publications) as well as co-authoring The Bees and Wasps of the Balearic Islands (Entomofauna).

Series: New Naturalist Series Volume: 146
By: Ted Benton(Author), Nick Owens(Author)
596 pages, 358 colour photos and colour & b/w illustrations, 34 tables
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