This course will introduce you to the identification and ecology of solitary bees, including nesting and foraging requirements, hosts, and associated aculeate nest parasites.

This course will introduce you to solitary bee identification techniques, key features for discrimination, and will provide you with understanding of the importance of these species for conservation, ecology and recording.

Introduction to the genera and species will be through a combination of presentations, field visits, and microscope workshops using keys and prepared specimens. Each presentation will use photographs to point out the key features used in the identification guides that we will use over the weekend. The evening sessions will focus on taking specimens through keys allowing participants to build up their knowledge of each genera commonly found in Britain. The field visits will enable you to put into practice what knowledge you have gained over the weekend and further your appreciation of these fabulous insects and their needs. We will talk about specific plant associations where relevant, nesting sites and materials used and look around such sites in an attempt to identify nest parasites.

Your course takes place on a 12-hectare estate, surrounded by a rich range of habitats, including the River Severn and semi-ancient woodland, set in the heart of Shropshire with views disappearing into Wales.

Tutor: Ian Cheeseborough

Ian Cheeseborough is self-employed in the field of habitat management and entomological surveys, mainly in Shropshire. He has been studying Aculeate Hymenoptera – bees, wasps and ants for the past ninteen years and is County Recorder for this group of insects. He also runs a number of courses on Aculeates at Preston Montford FSC.