Monday, 18 April 2011

Solitary Bees

During the Bee Project I found that the subject of identifying solitary bees interesting, but very complicated. I didn't know much about solitary bees and needed help with not only locating and catching them, but also identifying them.

My friend Brian, an ecologist, helped look for them and catch them and then we had to go through a very long key to try and make an ID. To confirm our findings we then went to Liverpool Museum where Carl Clee helped us.

It was this process that led to the solitary bee prints. Reading the key, written by George Else, most of the words are unknown to me - minute parts of bee anatomy, beautiful and poetic.

I emailed Mr Else and he kindly gave me permission to use extracts from the key for the Andrena bees and i've made screen prints of 3 species: Andrena denticulata, Andrena helvola and Andrena subopaca.

Photos by Jonty Wilde


  1. Identifying solitary bees is hard. The only book I have was written in the 1940's, and the illustrations are very obviously based on dried, distorted museum specimens. Not much help at all!

  2. Learning about solitary bees was the most complicated, but also fascinating bit of the Bee Project and I could really do a whole separate project on them...