Solitary bees

How to identify solitary bees:

  • There are more than 200 species of solitary bees in the UK and they vary in appearance
  • They will build a nest in your lawn (leaf cutting bees and miner bees), in a crack in your paving (miner bees), in an old log or tree stump (carpenter bees), in a plant pot or under the soil (leaf cutter bees).

There are more than 200 species of bees in the UK – all but the bumble bee and honey bee are solitary bees in that the queen will build a nest with all necessary provisions and leave the eggs to develop without her.

Many of these bees look similar to each other and the easiest way to tell them apart is from the numbers of bees and their behaviour. Solitary bees will often nest in the same vicinity as each other – but you will not see more than 20-50 bees together. Their common names will be a clue to where you might find them – carpenter bees (in logs & tree stumps), masonry (or mason) bees in mortar joints of stone or brick walls, mining (or miner) bees in the ground.

Leave them alone if possible. All these bees are important pollinators and will rarely sting.

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