Identifying Bees: Bee Resources

Perfect for participants of the North East Bee Hunt, explore helpful bee resources to help you identify the species you see this spring and summer.

There are over 270 bee species in Britain and Ireland, and here in the North East, around 100 bee species have been recorded. The huge number of species can be daunting when beginning with bee identification. However, there are many useful resources to help you identify both bumblebees and solitary bees.

The North East Bee Hunt has eight distinctive bee species to look out for this spring and summer. Among our most distinctive species and found in gardens and parks, these bees can help you get to grips with bee identification. We have produced detailed species profiles for each of the target North East Bee Hunt species.

Here are some examples of printed and online bee resources that can help you with identifying bumblebees and solitary bees in the North East.

Field guides

Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland

ISBN: 9781472967053 (Paperback), £29.99. Purchase here.

This field guide, authored by Steven Falk and illustrated by Richard Lewington, is a comprehensive guide to all bee species found in Britain and Ireland. It provides detailed information on the identification, ecology and distributions of all bee species in Britain and Ireland. To complement the Field Guide, Steven Falk also has a Flickr photo collection of all British bees.

Bumblebees: An Introduction

ISBN: 9780995773905 (Paperback), £10. Purchase here.

This book is ideal for bumblebee beginners, covering ecology, identification and what you can do to help bumblebees. The field guide section contains over 250 colour photographs and details each of the 24 bumblebee species found in the UK.

Field Guide to the Bumblebees of Great Britain & Ireland

ISBN: 9780954971328 (Paperback), £13.99. Purchase here.

This concise field guide details the ecology and identification of bumblebee species found in Britain and Ireland. Each species account contains colour photographs, illustrations and concise information on ecology and identification.


Online resources

Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society (BWARS)

Find out more here

The Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society (BWARS) is a recording society that aims to promote the recording of bees, wasps and ants in Britain and Ireland. To date, the BWARS dataset contains over 500,000 records. Records submitted towards the North East Bee Hunt are verified by experts usually on behalf of BWARS. On the BWARS website you will find lots of resources including species accounts, distribution maps and identification resources.

Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT)

Find out more here

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is a charity dedicated to the conservation of bumblebees in the UK. The website contains lots of information and resources to help you help bumblebees and identify them.

The website contains a handy online bumblebee identification guide. There is also a A4 identification sheet for the most common bumblebees, that can be printed and laminated for use in the field.

British Bees Flickr

Find out more here

To complement the Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland, Steven Falk has put together a ‘virtual museum collection’ of all British bee species. Each species has a species account and a photo gallery to look through.

Bilberry Mining Bee © Chris Barlow

Join the North East Bee Hunt

Urban or rural, beginner or expert, we need your help to record eight distinctive bees across the North East this spring and summer.

Your records can add to our understanding of bees in the region and inform conservation and monitoring efforts.

Taking part is easy and every record counts, wherever you live in the region. Records of all bee species are encouraged.