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National Insect Week returns in 2020

Identifying Ants at Preston Montford

Saturday, June 23, 2018 - 10:00 to Sunday, June 24, 2018 - 16:00

This short, introductory course is for anyone who would like to learn about the identification and ecology of these fascinating social insects. Ubiquitous in warm habitats, ants are familiar insects, and with the number of British species similar to those of Butterflies or Dragonflies a group that is not too daunting, and lends it’s self to further study. During the course we will concentrate on the identification of worker ants of the most commonly encountered species, before looking at the differences involved with identifying the queens and males. To the beginner, ants present a number of identification challenges. Time will be spent on helping the participants over these difficult first hurdles. We will use prepared specimens and a number of keys to familiarise the course participants with the variety of British species and enable them to identify those they encounter at least to the level of genus . The majority of the time will be spent in the laboratory examining specimens under a microscope, and for some short introductory lectures. We will also spend some time in the field, where we will look for ants in the centre grounds, and discuss their habitats and ecology. Ants are a group where a reference collection of verified specimens is essential for the correct identification of many species. We will discuss how to build a collection of correctly identified specimens, or where to go to visit such a collection.

Richard Becker is a farmer, photographer, and naturalist, with a lifetime interest in natural history, and a particular interest in insect behaviour. The Aculeate Hymenoptera (ants, bees and wasps) include species showing some of the most complex and developed behaviour known amongst invertebrates. As a professional photographer he specialises in the photography of plants and insects, supplying images to several international agencies. His photographs have been used in publications throughout the world. Formerly a dairy farmer in Sussex, since 2000 he has been working an Organic beef farm in the hills of Powys, mid-Wales.

Age limits or guidance

Suitable for beginners

Cost details

Adult £150, with shared accommodation £175, with single accommodation £210

Register in Advance

To attend this event please register in advance.

Did you know?

Holo versus hemi

Insect have two main life stage patterns, holometabolous: egg, larva, pupae, adult; and hemimetabolous: egg, nymph, adult.

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