The book contains a comprehensive introduction to bee classification, ecology, field techniques and recording, a full glossary, and information on how to separate the sexes and distinguish bees from other insects. Families and genera are introduced, describing key characters and life histories, while the species descriptions cover field and microscopic characters, similar species, variants, flight season, habitat, flowers visited, nesting habits, status & distribution, and parasites & associates. Finally, a series of innovative illustrated keys to genera and species is included, designed to guide the user step by step through the identification process.
As many bees cannot be identified to species level in the field as they require the taking of a specimen for critical examination under a microscope, this is a field guide in the loose sense – it will help you to recognise much of what you see in the field, but also indicate at which point you need to take specimens and put them under a microscope. However, you don’t need to collect bees or have a microscope to enjoy the book.