Course: Field Identification of Bumblebees (Online)

FSC BioLinks

Tue 12, July 2022 - Tue 16, August 2022 (Flexible study time)

Cost: £20 - £60

Sectors: conservation & wildlife, ecology

Bumblebees are large, furry and charismatic insects that are known for their bumbling flight and distinctive buzz.

During this course, you will be introduced to the fascinating natural history and important ecological roles bumblebees play within the ecosystem and are taught how to identify and record these charming insects.

There are currently 24 species of bumblebee present in Britain, with 8 varieties being fairly widespread no matter where you live in the UK. By looking at the colour of their tails and banding, some bumblebees can be identified in the field. However, queens, males and workers can vary in their appearance making some species harder to identify than others. This means that identifying bumblebees isn’t always as straightforward as it seems. This course is designed for people who have no prior experience in bee identification but who are interested in learning more about the humble bumblebee and the different species we have in the United Kingdom.

What topics are covered in this course?

  • Bumblebee Ecology & Behaviour starts with an overview of taxonomy, morphology and the life cycle of bumblebees, before covering how to tell bumblebees from mimics (such as moths, flies and other bees). It also covers aspects of ecology and behaviour such as diet, communication and defences.
  • The ‘Big 8’ British Bumblebees introduces field identification features used for telling different species of bumblebee apart. The most commonly observed bumblebee species found within the UK are introduced, with field ID tips for identifying each species. It also includes information on finding bees and an ID field assignment for learners to complete.
  • Bumblebee Diversity expands to cover field ID tips for the scarce and threatened bumblebees, as well as the cuckoo bumblebees. It also includes guidance on catching bees and a second field assignment for learners to complete.
  • Recording Bees covers why recording bees is important, what kind of information should be included in species records and where records can be submitted. It uses the bilberry bumblebee as a case study and a final field assignment for learners to complete.

Course Details:

  • 4-week online course for adults, with a weekly time commitment of 3-5 hours per week.
  • Access to study content, activities and tutor-graded assignments through the FSC virtual learning platform.
  • Access to weekly live virtual classroom sessions at the end of each week with the course tutor through Zoom (recorded for those that are unable to attend the live sessions).
  • E-certificate upon course completion.
  • Learners will benefit from having access to a 10X hand lens and an insect or sweep net to get the most out of this course.
  • Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

Please refer to our website for more information and to book.

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