Hello! And welcome to the Solitary Bee Project. First of all thank you for taking an interest in the project and the U.K.’s solitary bees.

 

What are solitary bees?

There are more than 200 species of solitary bee in the U.K. meaning they account for more than 90% of all our bee species. They are so named because, unlike honeybees and bumblebees, they live alone. They vary greatly from their physical appearance to the way they live, making them a truly fascinating group to learn about. They are also very important to us as they help pollinate our crops, trees and wildflowers.

 

The mystery of the solitary bees

Quite little is known about this vast group, particularly compared to their more famous cousins; the bumblebees and honeybee. One part we have very little knowledge about is where they choose to nest and why. By gaining a greater understanding of nesting, we can better inform our land management practices in everything from agriculture to gardening to urban planning. That is the aim of this project.

 

Meet the bees

To begin our journey to understanding nesting we have chosen four solitary bee species to focus on. These species all nest in aggregations (lots of nests grouped together), making them easier to spot. They are also active at different times of the year so we can begin to get an overview of what’s happening throughout the season. These four species are:

1. Andrena fulva 2. Andrena cineraria 3. Halictus rubicundus 4. Colletes hederae

Spring

Photo: Tom Ings

Spring

Photo: Tom Ings

Summer

Photo: Steven Falk

Late summer/ Autumn

Photo: Steven Falk

 

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