The Mason and Leafcutter Bees (Megachilidae), is a large family of solitary bees where many species require microscopic examination in order to reliably identify them to species. This course will provide you with the skills you need to be able to start identifying Mason and Leafcutter Bees to genus and species using a microscope.

This course provides an introduction to identifying Mason and Leafcutter Bees to species. This includes a short presentation introducing the morphological features used to identify specimens to family level, followed by practical sessions guided by our expert tutor. During the lab sessions, you’ll explore a wide variety of different Mason and Leafcutter bee species, including both common and rare ones that can be trickier to find in the wild. This course will use the Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland, by Steven Falk – copies will be available for use from our reference library.

Through a combination of taught classroom content and lab-based practical sessions, learners will gain confidence in using the identification key and preserved specimens to identify Mason and Leafcutter Bees to genus and species level.

  • Certificate upon course completion.
  • Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.
  • Please note that this course will involve using specimens that have been killed and preserved.

This course is aimed at adults only and course attendees must be at least 18 years old in order to attend.

What will be covered during this course?

  • The external (morphological) features used in mason and leafcutter bee identification
  • How to work through a key to determine mason and leafcutter bee specimens accurately to family, genus and species level
  • Practical experience observing mason and leafcutter bee ID features using a microscope
  • No microscope experience is necessary – our tutors will set up and show you how to use a microscope

See the ‘Example Timetable’, ‘What’s Included’ and ‘Before You Attend’ sections below for more information about this course.

Course Fees

Regular Price: £75   For professionals and residents outside of the UK.  Select ‘Attendee: In Person’ Sold Out

Subsidised Price: £10   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 Subsidised: In Person’

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).

Covid Measures

In order to keep our customers and staff safe we ask that anyone attending our centres:

  • wears a face covering when in shared indoor space (unless exempt).
  • maintains social distancing.
  • cleans their hands regularly.
  • takes a Covid-19 test before they arrive.

Example Timetable

  • Please arrive in time for the course to start promptly at 10:00 am.
  • Refreshments will be available from 9.45 am.
  • The course will end at 4:00 pm.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • 6 hours of tuition.
  • Certificate of attendance.
  • Access to a microscope, identification resources and specimens.

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

Getting to FSC London: Bushy Park

Information on getting to the site can be found here.

When you arrive at The Stockyard gate you may need to call the centre to open the gate. You can reach the staff on site on 020 8941 4398.

What to bring

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Lunch
  • Any specimens that you'd like verified (tutor availability during the course permitting)

Please note that this course will involve using specimens that have been killed and preserved.

There will be a member of staff with first aid training and access to a first aid kit on site. If you have special medical requirements please let us know as soon as possible so we can plan the course.

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