There are around 270 species of bee in Britain, although many are under-recorded, under-appreciated and under-loved!  Found in a range of habitats, bees have fascinating life histories and ecosystem roles.

If you’re interested in finding out more about bees but don’t feel ready for a beginner’s ID workshop, then this is the course for you.  Discovering Bees is a very gentle introduction to our planets most important pollinators, introducing aspects of their biology and ecology and aims to give learners the skills and confidence to learn more about the lives and ecological role of bees.

  • 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 to get the most out of this course.
  • Please note that this course is NOT a species identification course and will only go as far as categorising British bees by their life histories.
  • Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

What topics are covered in this course?

  • BWA201 Bee Biology will discuss where bees fit into the animal kingdom, their role as beneficial insects and how they have evolved into either solitary or social lifestyles. We will also look into their anatomy, life cycles and communication, as well as the mechanisms they use to defend themselves from predators.
  • BWA202 Bee Ecology & Diversity will look into the basic ecological needs of bees and the habitat requirements they depend on in order to survive. We will also look to give an overview of the species diversity of bees in the United Kingdom and the insects which mimic bees for protection.
  • BWA204 Bees as Pollinators will look at the process of pollination, its importance for sustaining a healthy environment and the significant role bees play in this process as the worlds most important pollinators. We will also touch on the different ways in which solitary and social bees contribute to pollination services and the specific flower preferences of some widespread species.
  • BWA206 Finding Wild Bees will discuss how to find wild bees in the UK, including the types of landscapes and habitats which are most suited to different species. We will also cover the techniques used by professionals and amateurs to catch bees. We will undertake a Flower Inspected Timed count survey, to provide you with the experience and confidence to start observing pollinators.

Course fees

Regular Price: £60   For professionals and residents outside of the UK.  Select ‘Attendee (Online)’

Subsidised Price: £20   Subsidised by the FSC Biolinks project for non-professionals eg. volunteers, biological recorders, wildlife gardeners, amateur naturalists and students.Available to UK residents only.   Select ‘Attendee Discounted (Online)’

Tutor: Ryan Clark

Ryan Clark first became interested in wild bees while at university where he discovered how important these species are and how relatively little is known about their ecology and distribution. Since then he has been actively recording solitary bees and bumblebees and is the Northamptonshire vice-county recorder for bees, wasps and ants. Ryan works for the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire as a Monitoring and Research Officer. In his spare time he is an active (some would say obsessive) biological recorder of a wide variety of taxonomic groups. Ryan also sits on committees for the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society and the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI).

Live virtual classroom session dates and times

The webinars will take place every Tuesday for the duration of the course:

  • Week 1: Tuesday 7th September 2021,   1:00pm - 1:45pm
  • Week 2: Tuesday 14th September 2021, 1:00pm - 1:45pm
  • Week 3: Tuesday 21st September 2021, 1:00pm - 1:45pm
  • Week 4: Tuesday 28th September 2021, 1:00pm - 1:45pm

The live webinars will be recorded for those that cannot make the session.

Want to know more about this course?

Why not check out our Discovering Bees Online blog post?

 

Example Timetable

Week 1: Bee Biology

  • Self-study material: available from 31/08/2021
  • Assignments due: 6:00pm on 06/09/2021
  • Week 1 live webinar: 07/09/2021 (at 1:00pm)

Week 2: Bee Ecology and Diversity

  • Self-study material: available from 07/09/2021
  • Assignments due: 6:00pm on 13/09/2021
  • Week 2 live webinar: 14/09/2021 (at 1:00pm)

Week 3: Bees as Pollinators

  • Self-study material: available from 14/09/2021
  • Assignments due: 6:00pm on 20/09/2021
  • Week 3 live webinar: 21/09/2021 (at 1:00pm)

Week 4: Finding Wild Bees

  • Self-study material: available from 21/09/2021
  • Assignments due: 6:00pm on 27/09/2021
  • Week 4 live webinar: 28/09/2021 (at 1:00pm)

The final deadline to complete any outstanding assignments and self-study components is 05/10/2021.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • 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.

Bursaries and Subsidies

FSC BioLinks

FSC BioLinks is an exciting project for FSC in the South East and West Midlands, bringing together existing volunteers with skills in biological recording and identification, and new volunteers.

This project provides subsidised training courses, learning opportunities and digital tools focussed on invertebrate identification for anyone involved or interested in biological recording, to build and strengthen the community.

Invertebrates provide us with many useful ecosystem services, like pollination and decomposition, which we cannot survive without but their numbers are declining. Few people know how to identify or record invertebrates meaning there is a lack of data

We are delighted to have been awarded a grant of £1.23 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for this project.

Before You Attend

Once you've signed up to the course you'll receive an e-mail with access to the virtual learning platform (Moodle) a week before the first webinar.

Log on as soon as you can to familiarise yourself with the platform and course materials, and be sure to complete the first activities before the first webinar.

Webinars are delivered through Zoom, so you don't need to download any additional software to attend - just click the link just before the meeting is due to start and it will open in your web browser.

Learners will benefit from having access to a 10X hand lens to get the most out of this course.

Clear