Do you know what a solitary bee is? The chances are, if you spot a bee in your garden, it’s more often than not a solitary bee. In the UK, we have just over 250 species of bee, most of which are solitary. Some look like tiny flies, and others are as big and fluffy as bumblebees. These non-aggressive, gentle bees don’t sting and are some of our most effective pollinators, which is why we love attracting them into our gardens.
Probably the most distinctive of all of the bees in Britain, bumble bees are giant, fluffy, social insects. We have around 24 species of bumblebee here, all of which live in colonies of up to 400 bees. They tend to nest in the ground, under sheds, in abandoned mouse holes, or even in disused bird nest boxes. Bumblebees are fantastic pollinators who visit our gardens to gather nectar and pollen.
Although not as distinctive as a bumblebee, honey bees are easily recognisable little black and gold bees. In the wild, honey bees live in giant hives made of wax honeycombs, containing up to 50,000 bees. The queen lays eggs whilst the workers and drones care for the young and collect pollen and nectar.