Recommended reading

Our staff and partners have recommended the following books about bumblebees and their habitats for people who are keen to learn more. This is not an exhaustive list but should be enough to get you started.

If you are buying any of these books through Amazon then please remember to use our special BBCT link so that a percentage of your purchase is donated back to bumblebee conservation. This does not affect the price that you pay. More details can be found on our fundraising page.

A Sting in the Tale, by Dave Goulson (2013)

Written by one of the lead bumblebee researchers, this book is an excellent introduction to bumblebees. It is highly recommended for anyone who has an interest in bumblebees, as it explains the life and conservation of bumblebees through charming anecdotes and tales of his adventures in research, in a way that no other publication does. Dave goes on to describe how he founded the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, and looks to the future conservation of bumblebees.

Bumblebees, by Ted Benton (2006)

A detailed account of the behaviour and ecology of bumblebees. Ted Benton combines 15 years of his own field studies of the species with all the latest research and findings, to provide a detailed and comprehensive account of the lives of the 25 species of bumblebee found throughout the UK.

Bumblebees – behaviour, ecology, and conservation (2nd edition), by Dave Goulson (2010)

This book provides an excellent review of the major advances in the understanding of bumblebee ecology and behaviour that have been made in the past 30 years.


Bumblebees of North AmericaBumblebees of North America, by Paul Williams, Robbin Thorp, Leif Richardson and Sheila Colla (2014)

This book is a must-have guide to the bumblebees of North America. It has identification charts for all 46 species, along with habitat and ecological information. It is richly illustrated, with colour photographs, diagrams and maps. A bonus is that the paperback form means that it's easily taken into the field when observing bees. It is suitable for amateur recorders, as well as those who take part in the more advanced recording using dissection.

Plants for Bees - A guide to the plants that benefit the bees of the British Isles, by W.D.J. Kirk and F.N. Howes (2013)

This is an excellent resource for people who want to learn more about how they can turn their gardens into bee havens. It has a wealth of information about plants and pollinators and even gives details about which plants are best suited to the different bee species.

Wild bees of Scotland, by Mike Edwards (2015)

Scotland is the home of many solitary bees, so called because they do not live in colonies, but rather make individual nests to rear their young. There are some 200 species of these bees in the UK, including mason bees, miner bees and leafcutter bees, and most of them pollinate a variety of crops and wild plants. This booklet provides an identification key of 14 of the most common and fairly distinctive species of solitary bees known from Scotland.

Free to download from the SNH website.

The Wildlife Gardener – creating a haven for birds, bees and butterflies, by Kate Bradbury (2013)

In this book Kate provides advice on what to grow in your garden to benefit wildlife and things to do to cater for specific species of birds, mammals, bees, butterflies, moths and pond life.

“Bumblebees are key factors in our wildlife. If they disappear many of our plants will not bear fruit. I am proud to be associated with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust”.

David Attenborough

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