Monday, 20 June 2011

The perils of bumbling

Today a most wonderful "new" book arrived on my desk. Bumblebees by D V Alford. Published in the seventies; it is still one of the bibles of bumbling. It contains one of the few reliable keys to this tricky group (I'm told).

It also contains this rather charming quote, which I can confirm from bitter experience to be true: 
Perhaps no genus presents more difficulties in determining the species than Bombus; there are males, females, and neuters of two sizes, and the hairs with which they are clothed vary in colour with age; it is therefore only by examining their nests that the species can be ascertained, and perhaps not then with constant or unerring success. - John Curtis (1835)
I bought the book on Amazon, and the seller kindly penned me a hand-written note to tell me that the book had belonged to his father, an enthusiastic beekeeper. Which reminds me to wish you (where appropriate) a Happy Father's Day.

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