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A Guide to Native Bees of Australia - Terry  Houston

A Guide to Native Bees of Australia

Paperback Published: 30th August 2018
ISBN: 9781486304066
Number Of Pages: 280

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A Guide to Native Bees of Australia provides a detailed introduction to the estimated 2000 species of Australian bees. Illustrated with stunning photographs, it describes the form and function of bees, their life-cycle stages, nest architecture, sociality and relationships with plants.

It also contains systematic accounts of the five families and 58 genera of Australian bees. Photomicrographs of morphological characters and identification keys allow identification of bees to genus level. Natural history enthusiasts, professional and amateur entomologists and beekeepers will find this an essential guide.

About the Author

Terry Houston has studied Australian native bees for more than 50 years, both in the field and in state museum collections. He served as Curator of Insects at the Western Australian Museum in Perth for 34 years and, although retired, he continues his bee research there in an honorary capacity.


It contains a section on KILLING native bees for collection!


This book contains some fascinating background information about bees, however I am extremely put off by the inclusion of a section on KILLING native bees for specimen collection. Given some native bees are under threat, this seems an extremely irresponsible section to include in a book that will be bought by lay people. While I understand that sometimes invertebrate species 'need' to be killed and examined for scientific description and research, any scientists with a valid reason to do so will already be experts and therefore already know how to kill and preserve bees. Surely others do not need this information. Do you really want lay people etc. taking up native bee collection as a hobby? This information reminded me of the bad old days when various mammals and birds were killed and collected to satisfy the curiosity of humans, only to leading to their extinction or near extinction. If the same author was an expert on Australian birds, would they also include a section on killing native birds in their book? I was originally thinking of buying an extra copy of the book to give to my nephew as a present. However I won't now, thanks to the section on killing and collecting native bees. The section on bee identification includes some good detail about the bee species, although it would be more user friendly if the photos were next to the relevant text, i.e. presented in a more organised 'bee by bee' manner. Many of the photos are of dead bees or dead bee body parts, which is possibly necessary for clear identification, but something for buyers to be aware of. I plan to return this book, as I cannot support an author who indiscriminately gives out detailed instructions on the catching and killing of native bee species. This goes against the whole idea of conserving native bees, and is an irresponsible topic to include in a book that will be accessed by a range of people. Save that information for scientific journals, not generally available books!


Great guide





A guide to Native bees of Australia


Well put together book.




4.0 3


Part I: Introduction
What is a bee?
Form and function
Origin and evolution of bees
Australian bee fauna
Importance of native bees
Bee life-cycle
Sexing bees
About males and mating
Bees’ glandular products
Size range Colour patterns, mimicry and crypsis Sociality
Nests and nesting behaviour
Flower visitation and feeding
Seasonality and flight times
Associated organisms
Historical account
Collecting and preserving bees
Encouraging native bees in the garden

Part II: Identification of bees
Identifying bees
Is it a bee?
Native bee or honeybee?
Regarding names: scientific versus common
Identification of Australian bees to family
Family Colletidae
Family Stenotritidae
Family Halictidae
Family Megachilidae
Family Apidae
Bees introduced to Australia
Further reading

ISBN: 9781486304066
ISBN-10: 1486304060
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 280
Published: 30th August 2018
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 21.5 x 14.8  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.52