Here we provide you with some extra information about how to identify the bees and record the data. You can have a look at it before you leave the house or print off the PDF (here) and take it with you. Remember, it's important that you see the bee at the nest so we can work out what kind of nest site each species of bee prefers.


Identifying the bees. If you’re new to solitary bees then this bit may seem daunting but don’t worry! We have picked species that are fairly easy to identify by sight and if you’re still not sure then just take a picture and send it to us, either through email, facebook or twitter, and we’ll have a look at it for you. For more information on the species please click on the photos to link to their profiles in the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society (BWARS) website. 

Andrena fulva (Tawny mining bee)

A bright, distinctive bee that can be found early in the season, emerging around the end of February and present until the end of June. The females have orange and red hairs all over their body.

Andrena cineraria (Ashy mining bee)

A beautiful bee, females have white hairs on their face and body and a shiny, black abdomen (the bit after the 'waist'). It can be seen at a similar time to Andrena fulva, emerging early in the season.

Halictus rubicundus
These are a little more difficult to identify than the Andrena species. The females have a ginger pile of hair on the part of their body closest to their head and part of their hind legs are orange. Females can be seen throughout the season, all the way from March to October.

Colletes hederae (Ivy bee)
Females have broad, white bands across the second half of their body and orange hairs on the part of their body closest to their head. The season will be most helpful in identifying this species. Any very active aggregation between Sept and Oct has a good chance of being Ivy bees.


We would also like to direct you towards two resources: The BWARS website can provide you with much more information about each of these species and the other hymenopteran species in the UK. On Steven Falk’s flickr page you will find many more photos of not only solitary bees but a multitude of British insects and other animals. Many of the photos on this site are Steven’s, which we are using with his kind permission and we really do recommend you head over to have a look at his photographic collections.


Shade. The following photos show an example for each category of shadiness. Please be aware that these are just examples and your site may look very different. In each case the red circle denotes the extent of the nesting aggregation





Slope is fairly straightforward. If the nests aren’t on flat (blue crosses) or vertical (red crosses) ground, then we consider the ground sloped (orange crosses). Easy!