Bumblebee Identification Guides

Free online course on how to identify and record common Irish bumblebees. There are activities and quizzes to test your progress and get feedback on answers.

Crash course in bumblebee identification_2023 This pdf crash course in bumblebee identification is intended to help beginners start identifying Irish Bumblebees.

Irish bumblebees 1 (2015) This pdf guide is 1.6MB

Irish bumblebees 2 (2012) This pdf guide is 1.2MB

These files contain a series of images of Irish bumblebees, and have been developed as an identification guide.  Photographs will first appear unlabeled so that you have the option to test your identification if you wish.  Huge thanks to all those who have generously allowed their photographs to be included in the guides.

B. lucorum and B. terrestris This pdf guide is 1.3MB.  Bombus lucorum (White-tailed bumblebee) and B. terrestris (Buff-tailed bumblebee) are both very common in Ireland, but can be difficult to distinguish. This guide provides advice on how to identify queens, workers and males.

Common bumblebee males This pdf guide is 2.6MB. When male bumblebees begin to emerge in mid- to late-summer it can make bumblebee identification a little more challenging.  This guide provides some key characters to look for when distinguishing the males of our commoner species.


Solitary bee Identification Guides

Simple guide to solitary bees in Ireland_ part 1 (2016) This pdf guide is 1.1MB

Simple guide to solitary bees in Ireland_ part 2 (2016) This pdf guide is 2.4MB 

Simple guide to solitary bees in Ireland_part 3_Nomada (2013) This pdf guide is 2.1MB

Simple guide to solitary bees in Ireland_part 4_Andrena females (2015) This pdf guide is 2.3MB 


Hoverfly Identification Keys

StN keys for the identification of adult European Syrphidae (Diptera):

StN-KEY-to-GENERA-2014 (2.3MB)

StN 2017 KEYS to SPECIES (2.5MB)





Hoverfly Identification Guides

Simple-guide-to-4-Irish-hoverfly-species (2013) This pdf guide is 850KB in size. It is a simple guide to four Irish species that can be identified in the field with care

Hoverflies that mimic bumblebees This is a guide to 10 hoverfly species that mimic bumblebees.

Beginners guide to Irish hoverflies July 2015 This is a comprehensive guide to hoverflies in Ireland. It is intended to help make the group more accessible to beginners. It is 5MB in size.