Dr William Kirk was born in London and grew up in Somerset. He studied applied biology at Cambridge University and then completed a PhD there on the ecology of thrips in flowers. He is now a Senior Lecturer in the School of Life Sciences at Keele University. His main research is on thrips, which are small insects that are worldwide pests of agriculture and horticulture. In 1988, he started beekeeping and has run regular courses for beginner beekeepers for over 20 years. He has also carried out research on the foraging behaviour and diseases of honey bees. In 1995, his book “A colour guide to pollen loads of the honey bee” was awarded a gold medal at Apimondia (the Union of World Beekeeping Organisations). His most recent book is “Plants for bees”, which is a guide to the plants that benefit the bees of the British Isles and is packed with over 700 attractive photographs. This covers not just honeybees, but also bumblebees and solitary bees.