Bees in Britain

At last, an introductory text to British bees... 

In 1998 BWARS members started work on a project to write and publish an introduction to the bees of Britain. The project was considered particularly worthwhile as there had been no publication providing an adequate overview of this large and varied group of aculeates since Edward Saunders' 1896 classic work. The lack of a good modern introductory text covering all British bee genera was a huge gap in the literature on British aculeates.


Since the decision to create the book was made there has been a surge of public interest in native bees, making the publication of the proposed book even more important. In fact, the book reached the stage where it was actively being considered for publication, but unfortunately it has not been possible to achieve this. BWARS is still hopeful of seeing the book published, complete with many colour photographs of bees and a key to bee genera. Meanwhile though, the lack of a good introductory text for British bees is considered to be such a difficult barrier for students wishing to pursue an interest in bees, that BWARS has decided to make the text of the book freely available as pdfs.  

Postnote: Since Bees in Britain was made available online, two excellent books on British bees have been published - Steven Falk's Field Guide to the Bees of Britain and Ireland and George Else & Mike Edwards' Handbook of the Bees of the British Isles. Bees in Britain remains a useful and free resource that complements the other two publications.

Download Bees in Britain:

Chapters 1 - 3 - with corrections - 22 May 2012

Chapter 4 (part 1) Identification: Keys to Genera - with corrections - 18 May 2012

Chapter 4: (part 2) Glossary - with corrections - 18 May 2012

Chapter 5: The Genera - with corrections and amendments - 22 May 2012

Table of British Bee Species


Related resource: Steven Falk's Flickr photo collection of British Bees

Andrena nigroaenea female on dandelion flower - Photo by Nigel Jones

Andrena nigroaenea - One of Britain's commonest mining bees