Then we were shown how to decide if they were male or females. The latter having an obvious point at the tail end of the body. Also, only the females collect pollen, so they are the only ones with pollen baskets on their legs! When they have been busy these get very full and are quite obvious.
We also had to decide if they were true Bumble bees or cuckoo bees. The cuckoo bees do not collect pollen and their leg is coverd in thick hair, whereas the true Bumble bee has a shiny pollen sac.
I think I still need more practice, but I was amazed at how easy it was to catch them and then apply some id steps.For more info have a look at http://bumblebeeconservation.org/about-bees/identification/top-tips-for-bee-id/