Species of the month:
September - Ivy Bee

Let us know on our form below if you've seen an Ivy Bee

Ivy bee © Ken Dolbear and Jane Adams

Profile:

Common Name: Ivy Bee

Latin Name: Colletes hederae

Identification: This bee looks similar to a honey bee with an orange/brown hairy thorax and a black and yellow striped abdomen.  

Behaviour: They are the last solitary bee to emerge and Britain’s only true Autumnal bee. Ivy plants will attract large numbers of Ivy bee however they also visit sea aster, bristly oxtongue, perennial wall rocket and other later flowering plants.

Eats: As the name suggests Ivy is the main plant used by these bees for nectar (for energy). They also visit Ivy and other later flowering plants for pollen.

Where can they be found? This bee was first recorded in mainland UK in 2001 in Dorset! It has now been found in much of southern England and Wales and in the Channel Islands. It can be spotted buzzing around Ivy bushes when they are in flower from September to November along the coast and in towns and gardens. They nest in the ground and prefer bare or sparsely vegetated light soils.

Wildife Gardening Tips:

Here are some tips on how to help commas in your garden:

  • Plant nectar and pollen rich Autumn/later flowering plants!
     
  • Keep that Ivy! Avoid cutting back ivy in your garden or pulling it off trees and walls as it is an important later flowering nectar/pollen source for bees and butterflies (as well as a great nesting habitat for birds earlier on in the year).
     
  • Have water sources in your garden- bees need to drink too! Several shallow dishes at different heights will be adequate.

Let us know if you've seen an Ivy Bee below...

Your Ivy Bee details
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