Romsey and District Beekeepers' Association

About SOLITARY BEES - The lone bees that pollinate

The UK has many species of solitary bee, every one a precious pollinator

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SOLITARY BEES live and work in single nest cells
Image missing: Red mason bee
It is a surprise to many people that most bees are SOLITARY BEES. The more common images are swarms of honey bees and gangs of bumblebees raising large numbers of offspring in shared nests.
Solitary bees do sting, but the sting is not very powerful and the bees are not aggressive. As they live alone they will never gang up to attack and rarely even bother to guard their own nests.
What does a Solitary Bee look like?
Image missing: Leaf cutter bee
There are around 250 different species of solitary bee in Britain and a surprising number of these inhabit our gardens.
The Red Mason bees are the most common, nesting in cracks in walls. Tawny Mining bees nest in holes dug underground. Leaf Cutter Bees nest in any hole they can find, above or below ground.
Many species of solitary bees are efficient pollinators, some being specialised in pollinating certain plants.
How to help the Solitary Bee
Image missing: A good nest for solitary bees
You can easily help these wonderful insects to survive in and around your garden by making or buying a solitary bee nests. There are many websites that give full instructions or offer a range of nests for sale. Leaving wood trimmings around your garden can also help, as they will burrow inside small hollow branches.
Bumblebee Conservation Trust
You can find out more about our native solitary bees by visiting the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website