Friday, August 12, 2016

Review: Wasps and Bees of Minnesota

Friend, poet, and citizen scientist, Scott King has written “A Photographic Guide to Some Common Wasps and Bees of Minnesota.” This book is not so much a guide as it is an appreciation of Minnesota wasps and bees. This book is extremely relevant in these days of concern for declining bee pollinator species.

This book contains color photographs, mostly taken by Scott, of 135 of the 400 species known to occur in Minnesota. Scott’s goals in writing this book are to increase readers' awareness of bee diversity and perhaps to learn to identify the common species. But his greater goal is to share his excitement in studying these insects. Scott is thrilled to search for new species, acquire names, and learn apian biology. By his own admission, this book is not technical. Identification is to be attempted by thumbing through the book. Sizes are indicated by lines of different lengths, but the measurements are not given. No keys are included. Scott writes that one in ten wasps you might find are not in this book. He notes that finding new species for Minnesota is not difficult. New species to science are not out of the question.

Despite these caveats, this book will allow you to name many Minnesota bees and wasps. Scott quotes Dijksra who wrote that names lead people to “awareness, conservation, and research.” Some great wasp and bee names are lurking out there—Queen Ant Kidnappers, Ornate Variable Spider Wasps, and Eastern Cicada Killers, to name but three. Some had no common names, and Scott had to pen them based on their scientific names or habits. All await your discovery. Click on the icon above for more information.


  1. Looks interesting. Thanks for calling attention to this. Photographing bees and wasps must be a challenge, though!

    1. Despite being deathly allergic to them, I have tried photographing them with remarkable lack of success...