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Collins New Naturalist Library - Solitary Bees (Collins New Naturalist Library)

By Ted Benton and Nick Owens

A completely up-to-date introduction to the most common group of bees in Britain.

Bees, for most people, mean honey or bumble bees, but in fact these social species make up only a small proportion of the species that live in Britain. Open your eyes to the so-called ‘solitary’ bees, and discover a wonderfully diverse population – miners, leafcutters, carpenters and masons – many of which can be found in your own back garden.

Solitary bees come in a variety of colours and sizes, with some as large as bumblebees and some only a few millimetres long, and many are key pollinators for our crops and wildflowers. This comprehensive book will tell the story of how these bees live, reproduce and thrive: discover the numerous strategies used by male bees to find females and persuade them to mate; follow the females as they build their nests – or in the case of ‘cuckoo’ species, sneak into the nests of their neighbours – and watch as the new generation appears. Explore the interactions between flowering plants and their bee visitors, asking what the plants get from the relationship, as well as how the bees select the plants they visit, and the ingenuity required to extract pollen, nectar and other rewards. Finally, learn places where bees flourish and what can be done to encourage them and ensure they continue to pollinate our flowers and crops.

Drawing on all the latest research as well as the authors’ own observations in the field, this timely New Naturalist gives a wonderful insight into the complicated lives of solitary bees, and the complexity of the behaviour and ecology of this remarkable group of insects.