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4.6 out of 5 stars77
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 1 September 2005
You will find yourself running around the garden chasing bees book in hand. Identificaton is not easy but this book tells you all you need to know about the range of species you are likely to encounter.
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on 6 April 2005
This guide informs you with a litle background on bubmlebees and their life history as well as the cuckoo bumblebee.
It tells you how to distinguish the true bumblebee from the cuckoo bumblebee and males from females.
There is 22 species described in total. 16 true bumblebees and 6 cuckoo bumblebees.
The color pattern cross reference chart together with the comments and then the information on the species specific pages gives you a good chance to make a right identification of the most species. It works well and is very fast after you've learn't it.
Every species has its own page where there are fotos of both the male and female and their different color pattern on thorax and abdomen. Symboles shows you in which habitat it thrive, when they emerged (or can be seen), the head shape and an distribution map. Then you can read more on how it looks, color variations, similar species and how to distinguish them, distribution, where they nest and on which flower they feed.
The color fotos are nice but don't help you much with the identification. I like drawings better. There is no key either but the cross reference table works fine with bumblebees.
In the end there are also how to promote the bumblebee in your garden with plants they like.
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on 18 June 2011
Revised Edition

The Book claims to describe 25 species, but only 23 species are described in detail. For each species the following information is provided: colour photograph of male and female in natural habitat, colour code of stripes for identification, appearance, variability, similar species, distribution and biology, nests, flower visits, icons for habitats, flight times for males and females, distribution map, and face size.
The contents of the book are (main headings only):
9 Introduction
13 Life History
27 Identifying Bumblebees
42 Quick Identification Chart
44 Photographs and species account
91 Gardening and bumblebees
97 Going Further
105 Table of names for bumblebee species
107 Useful addresses
108 Further reading

There are a number of disappoints with the book
1) No index - this is a serious omission by the publishers. The only way to find a specific species is to go the quick identification chart, or to search through the book.
2) English names are not with each species, but contained in a table towards the rear of the book. However, don't expect to find the "Tree Bumblebee" as you'll need to look elsewhere to find the Latin name.
3) Size range is not given for Queens, workers and males
4) Photographs - these could be better for identification purposes, as they are all feeding. The Field Studies Council produce better photographs of displayed specimens. Consequently identification has to be mainly by the colour codes.
5) Binding - the book is printed on thick paper, which does not make for easy searching. The cover is thin card with no plastic cover, hence the cover is likely to get damaged quickly, especially if taken into the field.
6) Distribution maps are very coarse for each species. The Natural History website provides far more detailed maps at only a fraction larger.
7) The graphics are too large, it would have been better to have smaller graphics, better descriptions, and a slightly larger distribution map.
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on 30 August 2009
A really good book for experts and novices (like me!). Easy to understand and will definetly increase your knowledge of the humble bumble bee.
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on 12 February 2010
Updates to the second edition include: a new species account for the soon-to-be-reintroduced Bombus subterraneus; the latest distribution maps; updated Conservation Action section, and revised Quick Identification Chart. A superb little book at a bargain price.
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on 11 December 2009
I'm only a beginner when it comes to bumblebees. I'm confident though that this book, which combines a quick id chart with colour photographs of both sexes of all 25 species I'll be able to identify them. It also mentions the flowers or flower families a particular species would visit and gives simple advice as to how to attract them to your garden. Looking forward to February already!
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on 29 July 2010
Pity the spine is not spiral wire bound as the book will not lay flat.
Not easy to use in the field.
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on 21 June 2011
The "ready reckoner" pages are an excellent idea - very user friendly.
I bought this because I am interested in reporting bee sightings to the BTO, but I didn't have a clue what the different types of bee were. There is very little good info on the web on this subject. Now I am identifying our own garden species with confidence, and have helped friends to identify theirs.
The photos are excellent - anyone who has ever tried to capture these little beauties on camera will know how difficult this can bee!
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on 10 August 2010
A super little book. I hadn't realised just how easy it is to identify the different types of bumblebee. It's all in the stripes!
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on 18 March 2010
As a beginner in bumblebee spotting I was looking for some good drawings or clear photographs. This book has an excellent quick identification chart with stylised colour drawings of thorax and abdomen bands which lead you to a short list of species. You can then turn to the photo pages where there is more information about appearance and distribution. The photos are okay, some arn't much help at all (bumblebees don't sit still for anyone!) so I think I'll be relying on the drawings. Good sections on life history and gardening and light enough to carry around.
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