all pictures © robin williams
Keys to aculeates
bees, wasps & ants
These keys cover a variety of sources, some available new, while others are recently or long ago out of date. Don't despair, there are numbers of entomological book shops out there and there is a ready market and availability for such works, which come and go with time. Most importantly, the Royal Entomological Society offers free downloads for their out-of-print keys, though I should warn that many of these are heavy-going, laden with scientific jargon and very much of their time.
Ants: by Gary J. Skinner & Geoffrey W. Allen; Naturalists Handbooks 24, Pelagic Publishing; 1996. 'Excellent and clear keys/drawings, very easy to use and understand'.
Bees, Wasps & Ants: a Key to the Genera of the British Aculeates; by Pat Willmer; AIDGAP; Field Studies 7 (S16), 1985. 'An easy-to-use guide designed to make separation into genera easier for the non-technical'.
British Species of Andrena & Nomada; by R.C.L. Perkins; pp 218-319; Transactions of the Entomological Society of London; 1919. 'Invaluable as a way of checking conclusions. Although the scientific names may have changed, this does not prove too much of a problem'.
British Species of Halictus & Sphecodes; by R.C.L. Perkins; pp 56-52, 94-101, 167-174; The Entomologists Monthly Magazine; March 1922. 'Much still applicable'.
British Species of Megachile; by R.C.L. Perkins; pp 95-101; The Entomologists Monthly Magazine; May 1925
Bumblebees: by Oliver E. Prỹs-Jones & Sarah H. Corbet; Naturalists Handbooks 6, Pelagic Publishing; Revised edition 1991. 'Clear keys/drawings, fine introduction to the subject'.
Bumblebee Distribution Maps Scheme: Guide to the British Species; by D.V. Alford; (from Entomologists Gazette Vol 21), Bee Research Association, 1973. 'A slender paperback which contains all the information needed to identify bumblebees through the microscope and in the field'.
Colletes halophila, & its Epeolus parasite, with a key to British Species of Colletes; by K.M. Guichard; pp 195-199; Entomologist’s Gazette Vol. 25; 1974
Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland: by Steven Falk, illustrated by Richard Lewington; pages 432; Bloomsbury 2015. 'The latest and best complete guide, with marvellous illustrations, incredibly detailed field and scientific information and superb format. A tour de force'.
Hymenoptera Aculeata: a descriptive account of the families, genera and species indigenous to Great Britain and Ireland, with notes as to habits, localities, habitats etc.; by Edward Saunders FLS, L. Reeve & Co, 1896. 'A quite amazing book, though long out of date as regards nomenclature. Contains full descriptions of species – which are still not available in any other book. Still important and most helpful in identifying species'.
Hymenoptera, Aculeata: Scolioidea, Vespoidea, & Sphecoidea: Vol 6 Part 3b; by J.F. Perkins; Royal Entomological Society of London; Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects, 1976. 'Keys to species'.
Hymenoptera, Bethyloidea: (excluding Chrysididae): Vol 6 Part 3a; by J.F. Perkins; Royal Entomological Society of London; Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects, 1976. 'Keys to species'.
Hymenoptera, Chrysididae: Cuckoo-wasps: Vol 6 Part 5; by D. Morgan; Royal Entomological Society of London; Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects, 1984. 'Excellent keys to species, though the whole classification is presently under study'.
Hymenoptera, Formicidae: Vol 6 Part 3c; by Barry Bolton & Cedric A. Collingwood; Royal Entomological Society of London; Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects, 1975. 'Difficult but complete keys to species; other books are easier for the amateur enthusiast'.
Hymenoptera, Pompilidae: Spider wasps: Vol 6 Part 4; by M.C. Day; Royal Entomological Society of London; Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects, 1988. 'Keys to species'.
Solitary wasps: by Peter F. Yeo & Sarah A. Corbet; Naturalists Handbooks 3, Pelagic Publishing; second edition 1995. 'Excellent and clear keys/drawings, easy to use'.
Handbook of the Bees of the British Isles (2 volumes); by George Else & Mike Edwards; The Ray Society 2018. 'The most important scientifically-based book on bees in Britain since Saunders in the late 1890’s. It contains brand new, highly tested keys for all British species, fully illustrated with detailed drawings filling a real need.'
The Bumblebees of Essex; by Ted Benton; Lopinga Books, 2000. 'Although covering Essex, much of the work applies all over the country with some of the finest photographs of bumblebees. A worthwhile addition to any library'.
The Formicidae (Hymenoptera) of Fennoscandia & Denmark; by C.A. Collingwood (in English); Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica, Volume 8, 1979. 'Provides superb, clear drawings and keys to most British species. A classic'.
The Specidae (Hymenoptera) of Fennoscandia & Denmark; by O. Lomholdt (in English); Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica, Volume 4, Second edition, 1984. 'Covers most, if not all, British species. Really well illustrated with clear keys. Discusses which species are found in UK'.
Solitary bees; by Ted Benton; Naturalists' Handbooks 33, Pelagic Publishing 2017. 'Another superb book by Ted Benton. A comprehensive coverage of the subject with newly-developed keys by Graham A. Collins'.