Identifying Bees: Bee Resources

Explore helpful bee resources to help you get started with bee identification.

With over 270 bee species in Britain and Ireland, it can be daunting when getting started with bee identification. Here in the North East, over 100 species have been recorded. However, there are many useful online, App-based and printed resources to help you identify both bumblebees and solitary bees. Spring is also a particularly good time to get started, with queen bumblebees on the wing and distinctive early-flying solitary bees.

Online resources

Bilberry Mining Bee © Chris Barlow

North East Bee Hunt species profiles

You can find a selection of bee species profiles on the North East Bee Hunt webpage.

Covering identification and ecology, these short species profiles are a handy guide to help you get to grips with some of the common species present in the North East.

Bellflower Blunthorn Bee © Chris Barlow

British Bee Flickr photo collection

To complement the Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland, entomologist Steven Falk has created a ‘virtual museum collection’ of all British bee species.

Each species has an image gallery with a short species account to help you identify your bee finds.

Broken-belted Bumblebee male © Chris Barlow

Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society

The Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society (BWARS) is a recording society that promotes the recording of bees, wasps and ants in Britain and Ireland. To date, the BWARS dataset contains over 500,000 records, helping inform research and monitoring efforts.

On the BWARs website, you will find helpful resources including species accounts, distribution maps and identification resources.

Bilberry Bumblebee © Louise Hislop

Bumblebee Conservation Trust

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is a charity dedicated to the conservation of bumblebees in the UK.

Explore the website that’s packed with information and resources to help you identify and discover more about bumblebees.

Hairy-footed Flower Bee male © Iain Robson

UK Bees, Wasps and Ants Facebook Group

From mining bees to bumblebees, upload your sightings to the UK Bees, Wasps and Ants Facebook Group and get identification support from others.

Field guides

Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland

Authored by entomologist Steven Falk and illustrated by Richard Lewington, this field guide is a comprehensive guide to all British bee species.

It provides detailed information on the identification, ecology and distributions of all bee species in Britain and Ireland.

Bumblebees: An Introduction

Ideal for bumblebee beginners, this book covers ecology, identification and what you can do to help bumblebees.

Explore over 250 images with details on each of the 24 bumblebee species found in the UK.


Moss Carder Bee

What’s that bumblebee? App

Using augmented reality, illustrations and images, the App is a free and accessible tool to get to grips with bumblebee identification.

Explore bumblebee species individually through species accounts, images, illustrations, images and distribution maps.

© Chris Barlow

Join the North East Bee Hunt

Urban or rural, beginner or expert, we need your help to record bees across the North East.

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.