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Collins New Naturalist Library (98) - Bumblebees [Paperback]

Ted Benton
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Mar 2006 New Naturalist (Book 98)

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.

Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (6 Mar 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007174519
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007174515
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 17.1 x 3.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,167,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


‘The most authoritative work on British bumblebees ever published.’
The Independent

‘This book is an inspiration. It will fascinate and arm you with everything you need to know to help you save our bumblebees. Buy it, enjoy it, and keep it safe.’
BBC Wildlife

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Ted Benton is Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex, and has special interest in and numerous publications on socio-economic and political aspects of environmental change. He has been a passionate field naturalist since childhood, and is an active field recorder and photographer, with particular interest in several insect orders. New Naturalist – Bumblees is the culmination of 15 years of field research into bumblebees.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Study 5 Feb 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I must begin by saying that I bought this book somewhat by default. I was looking for something about wasps, but as the Collins New Naturalist series has never covered this area (why not??), I opted for Bumblebees as a second-best choice.

As it turned out, I could not have chosen better. The book covers just about every possible area of UK bumblebee anatomy, ecology and conservation. It begins with a general introduction, before moving onto chapters covering the bumblebee lifecycle, bumblebee psychology (i.e. perception and decision-making, and how these affect behaviour), cuckoo bumblebees, predators, parasites and lodgers (including interaction between cuckoo bumblebees and their hosts), bumblebees and flowers (from both the bees' and the flowers' viewpoints), an excellent identificaton guide, and finally two chapters on the possible causes of bumblebee decline in the UK and approaches to their conservation.

What is fascinating about the book is that the author has been able to provide a wealth of scientific information, but presents it in a way that is fully intelligible to the non-scientific reader. I have no scientific background at all, just a general interest in wildlife, and yet I had no trouble in following the explanations given about every aspect of bumblebee life. Such an ability is always a good indication of an author who truly understands his/her subject.

As with the other New Naturalists, this one focuses on its subject from a British perspective. Plenty of reference is made to continental European studies of the same or similar species, and several relevant comparisons are made with bumblebee ecology in the US, but in all cases they are used as background and guide to the species to be found in the UK.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful, accessible and enjoyable. 30 Mar 2011
I've always had a soft spot for bumblebees, though I know little about them; I can recognise the commonest British species, but that is all. I've been training my six-year-old son to do the same, actually, based on the fact that they all have differently-coloured bottoms, which he thinks is quite funny. I decided I'd like to know a little more about them myself.

Having big furry bodies, bumblebees can maintain body temperature above their surroundings very successfully and are thus unusual among insects in being well-adapted for cooler climates. Their strongholds worldwide are in Northern Europe and Central Asia; there are very few species in the tropics. This northerly distribution would make them very sensitive to climate change, you would think, though it seems in this country at least that intensive agriculture has had a much more serious impact on their numbers. Within the UK, Scotland is an important stronghold for several of our declining species.

Benton is a fascinating writer, and though the book is a mine of scientific detail, the author's training as a sociologist is evident in several fascinating sections, such as the discussion of altruism, conflict and cooperation (pp 61-4). In the final chapters on `Agricultural Change and Bumblebee decline' and Conservation, it really comes to the fore, and manages - just about - to stay the right side of polemic. A thorough and valuable guide - by far the best I've ever seen - to these endlessly-engaging insects.
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By Robaire
A valuable book on bumblebees but unfortunately it's very high price means few will be able to benefit from it
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book 5 Aug 2013
If you love bumble bees then you will love this book. Every thing you will ever want to know about bumble bees!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellence in Ecological Publishing 11 Nov 2006
By E. Paradis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A brilliant, well written book on the subject of Bumblebees. Surpasses all others.

Crisp, clean photos and in-depth descriptions.

Overall, an excellent read for any booklovers collection
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book but hardback is unlikely to be available 29 Nov 2007
By Rick Godwit - Published on Amazon.com
Despite the suggestion here that this book may be available in 4-5 weeks it probably won't be. I waited nearly two months after ordering it and zlich. In addition, elsewhere on the site the hardback copy of this title is unavailable.
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