air bee n’ bee
There are thought to be close to 270 species of bee in the UK, around 90% are thought to be SOLITARY bees.
No queens, no colony and no honey.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the plight of the Honeybee (Apis melifera), but how about solitary bees such as the Red Mason bee (Osmia bicornis) or Willoughby’s Leafcutter bee (Megachile willughbiella)? The vast majority of species in the UK are solitary and largely unmanaged. Females are solely responsible for their nest as they have no colony to help them. As native species, they need your help!
Insect biodiversity is in decline globally, as a result of a number of stressors - climate change, pesticide and insecticide use, land use change & disease.
There are less flowers, less green spaces, less habitats!
But with mindful gardening practices and the creation of reliable man-made structures, YOU can make a difference today.
We will be posting handy guides to creating habitat for solitary bees, how to plant flowers that the bees really want to see in your garden and bee ID charts - so anyone can become a bee expert! An exciting new project is our Live Solitary Bee cams with Kate MacRae.
We want to spread the word about UK wild bees, so #letstalkaboutbees
Guide to Artificial Habitat
Public interest in creating solitary bee habitat has increased in recent years, and with commercially available “bee hotels” becoming more common. It is important to share the do’s and don’t’s.
This guide covers the construction of artificial habitat, maintenance and some simple species ID of UK species.
It is crucial to not only teach how to create this habitat; but how to practice maintenance, identify nest parasites and understand the life cycles of common species nesting inside the structures.
Live Solitary Bee Cams
The project allowed us to share the solitary bees most intimate moments, using Birdsy cameras pointing at their nests.
Kate MacRae -
A self confessed Wildlife Enthusiast, she has featured on BBC Springwatch, Autumnwatch & Countryfile.
Gemma Luckhurst -
BSc Animal Conservation and Biodiversity
With a keen eye for everything wild, she has a background in ecology and education.
These identification cards are simple and show the features that can be used to identify specific solitary bee species. The size, colour and body parts (eyes, abdomen, hair, scopa) can all be used when examining species.
All cards are created by Xavier McNally
All images are provided by Ed Phillips.