A detailed and up-to-date account of the behaviour and ecology of bumblebees.
This group of relatively large, colourful and familiar insects are a very popular subject of study because their behaviour can be observed without the use of elaborate equipment, enabling amateur and experienced entomologists alike to get close to these colourful and social creatures.
Unlike honey bees, bumblebees work on plants with no nectar, and play a crucial role in the pollination of flowers and vegetables. The farming industry relies heavily on these efficient pollinators: few, if any bean flowers, for example, would set pods unless they were pollinated by bumblebees, and many apple, pear and plum trees rely on visits for a bountiful harvest.
However, bumblebee populations have recently suffered alarming decline, with three of the UK populations already extinct and another nine on the endangered species list. A further decline in numbers could have a serious economic impact on the farming industry. In light of this, bumblebees have been a source of much interest, and detailed research and field studies over the past decade have brought them into the public eye and raised awareness of their plight.
New Naturalist – Bumblebees is an entirely new addition to the increasingly popular New Naturalist series, and is written by an expert in the field. Ted Benton combines 15 years of his own field studies of the species with all the latest research and findings, to provide a detailed and comprehensive account of the lives of the 25 species of bumblebee found throughout the UK, which includes:
• acclaimed colour photographs of the sexes and castes of all species
• detailed photographs of the bumblebee habitats
• detailed key to help aid identification, and original anatomical line drawings
• information on identification features, foraging behaviour and distribution
• latest findings on conservation status and habitat requirements.