Did you know over 80% of bees are solitary?
I know we couldn’t bee-lieve it either! Solitary Bees make up the largest percent of the bee population, with over 80% of bee species living alone. There are about 250 species of solitary bee in Great Britain and 20,000 – 30,000 different species worldwide, including mason bees, leafcutters, mining bees, carder bees and digger bees.
Solitary bees have no honey or hives which makes them easily overlooked, but they have a big impact on pollination around the world. They provide an essential service to our ecosystem, pollinating crops more efficiently than other species of bees. They ensure that some of the plants which we rely on for food are healthy and productive.
Here are a few things to know about solitary bees and how we can help this species:
Solitary Bees Are Queenless
A female solitary bee builds her nest and provides food for her young without the help of any worker bees. Female solitary bees prepare their own nest in the ground, in cracks or crevices in walls, or in wood. They gather nectar and pollen as food for their own offspring, and provide little to no care after their eggs are laid.
Solitary Bees Are Non-Aggressive
Because solitary bees do not have a store of honey to protect they are non-aggressive and rarely sting. Only females have the ability to sting whereas males are unable to do so.This makes them safe to be around children or pets – unless handled roughly or trod on. Like all living creatures, they do have defence mechanisms to help protect themselves.
Providing a Home For Solitary Bees
There are many factors in declining solitary bee numbers, fewer wildflowers, the use of chemicals in farming and less suitable habitats. As fields become bigger we lose more hedgerows, which used to provide ample homes to a wide range of wildlife.s we continue to build more, we unknowingly destroy habitats and nests. There are now initiatives in place to help us create safe environments for solitary bees. You can now get ‘bee bricks’ or nesting tubes to create a habitat for solitary bees, by making it possible for them to nest in your garden or within the walls. So why not try offering a home to these beautiful creatures living alone!