Mason and Mining Solitary Bees (we will not treat them) – These insects are most likely to be seen during the Spring (March and April weather dependent)
There are approximately 270 different types of solitary bee in this country? Solitary bees are excellent pollinators often attracted to one type of flower so when that flower’s season ends so does the bees activity.
The fertile female bees live alone in a hole or burrow for about 6-8 weeks of the year while they lay eggs. The burrow may be in well drained dry soil (mining bee) or in soft brick mortar (mason bee). Sometimes as these bees can congregate together their numbers can be quite alarming but please do not let them frighten you.
Mason bees are very interesting to watch as they go backwards and forwards with mud to block up the entrance to their burrow. You can even purchase solitary bee nesting houses for them from wildlife shops/garden centres or make your own. Put the bee house up on a sunny side of your house.
Solitary bees have a short lifespan, living as adults for only about 6 to 8 weeks. So activity can cease as quickly as it is started. Most solitary bees have no sting. For more information see http://www.insectpix.net/solitary_bees_gallery.htm
Mining (or digger) Bees make their nests in the ground, digging out tunnels in which to raise their young. These bees are widespread and common, with several thousand species being found throughout the world. Like most other bees, mining bees visit a wide variety of flowers and are important in pollination.