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Solitary beesTed Benton
Pelagic Publishing,£19.99

In Britain and Ireland there are 225 or more species of native bees that are neither bumblebees nor honey bees. The solitary bee species count outnumbers the more well-known (bumble and honey) bee species by a ratio of about 10 to one, yet less is known about most species of solitary bee.

This represents a tremendous opportunity for amateur biologists to assist in the pursuit of knowledge, to enable us to gain a better understanding of our native insect pollinators, and hence a better understanding of our ecology and conservation needs as a whole.

Using books such as this guide to solitary bees, amateur biologists can become experts over time through a process of practice, fieldwork and contact with their local wildlife recording and/or conservation charities.

Solitary Bees is a useful tool to help users gain familiarity with their local bee population. It provides information on the diversity and identification of bee species, how bees live and the presence of cuckoo bees – their life cycles and relationship with the host species. There are also chapters on conservation and suggested fieldwork.

The book includes lots of photographs and diagrams of key anatomical features to aid identification and understanding. There is also a chapter containing keys to identifying both males and females of each genera of British bees.

Dr Amanda Hardy MRSB

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