Identifying insect pollinators: a visual guide

Yellow-faced bumble bee (Bombus vosnesenskii). Photo by Kevin Cole from Pacific Coast, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Many CVN members want their gardens to attract pollinators, and carefully select native plants for this purpose. But how much do we know about the pollinators themselves?

As a joint project, the Environmental Youth Alliance and an organization named Border Free Bees prepared a booklet in 2017 to educate the public about insect pollinators:

Common Pollinators of British Columbia: A Visual Identification Guide

This booklet is a useful introductory guide in PDF form that you can download for free and use to learn about the different groups of insect pollinators: honey bees, bumble bees, other bees, hover flies, butterflies, and wasps.

It begins with some general information, including a diagram of basic insect anatomy. Then the section for each of the six groups of insects covered also has a diagram, followed by clear labelled photos of a few examples from the group.

This is not a field guide, but it’s a fun way to enhance your knowledge of the insect pollinators that visit the flowers in gardens and in the wild. For those who want to identify the insects more specifically, this guide can lead beginners to the correct section of their detailed field guides.

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