This course is now fully booked.

This is an online course

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

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

This is an online training course from the FSC BioLinks project , funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Field Studies Council, that aims to give those new to bees the confidence needed for accurate identification.

An e-certificate of course completion will be sent to any participants that sucessfully complete all the course components.


£60 – For professionals and non-UK residents. Select Attendee (Online)

£20 – Subsidised by the FSC BioLinks project for non-professionals based in the UK e.g. biological recorders, volunteers, wildlife gardeners, amateur naturalists and students. 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).

The webinars will take place every Tuesday for the duration of the course and there are two live webinar times available (1:00pm or 6:00pm GMT) to fit around your work schedule.

The webinars will take place on

  • Tuesday 1st June 2021 at 1.00-1.45pm and 6.00 - 6.45pm
  • Tuesday 8th June 2021 at 1.00-1.45pm and 6.00 - 6.45pm
  • Tuesday 15th June 2021 at 1.00-1.45pm and 6.00 - 6.45pm
  • Tuesday 22nd June 2021 at 1.00-1.45pm and 6.00 - 6.45pm

Attendees can choose to attend either the 1.00pm or 6.00pm webinars (the same content will be covered at both times).

Example Timetable

Week 1: Bumblebee Ecology and Behaviour 

Self-study material: available from 25/06/21
Assignments due: 6:00pm on 31/05/21
Week 1 live webinar: 01/06/2021 (at either 1:00pm  or 6:00pm)

Week 2: The Big 8 Bumblebees

Self-study material: available from 01/06/2021
Assignments due: 6:00pm on 07/06/2021
Week 2 live webinar: 08/06/2021 (at either 1:00pm  or 6:00pm)

Week 3: Identifying Bumblebees in the Field. 

Self-study material: available from 08/06/2021
Assignments due: 6:00pm on 14/06/2021
Week 3 live webinar:15/06/2021 (at either 1:00pm  or 6:00pm)

Week 4: Recording Bumblebees

Self-study material: available from 15/06/2021
Assignments due: 6:00pm on 21/06/2021
Week 4 live webinar: 22/06/2021 (at either 1:00pm  or 6:00pm)

The final deadline to complete any outstanding assignments and self-study components is 29/06/2021.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition

This is an Online Course

Closer to the time of the course start date, attendees will be given access to the FSC's online learning platform. There will be a number of resources for you to work through in youre own time and weekly live webinars with the course tutor (see timetable). These webinars will be hosted on Zoom , a free video conferencing platform. We will email all attendees details of how to access the online course and the webinars closer to the course start date.

Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

Time commitment

This course will require approximately 3 - 4 hours of your time each week. The course consists of four weekly topics. For each topic there will be a number resources and activities for you to work through in your own time, as well as assignments for you to complete before the end of the week. Each topic will end with a 45 minute live webinar with the course tutor, these will consist of discussions and exercises that reflect on the learning of the previous week.


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