Common Carder Bee

Bzzzz Feed #7: Common Carder Bee

There aren’t many bees out and about once we get to the autumn in the UK, though common carder bees are one that you’re still likely to spot; their bold ginger hair fitting in nicely with Halloween colour schemes.

When can you see a common carder bee?

Common carder bees are one of the UK bees around for the longest… you could see one from late March through to November, depending on the weather.

Where might you see a common carder bee?

Basically common carder bees, as their name suggests, are one of the commonest bees in the UK. You’re likely to see them across the British Isles and in a range of habitats. They’re regulars in gardens whether urban or rural and nest either above or below ground… in old mouse nests in long grass or vacated burrows.

Ivy Bees

Bzzzz Feed #5: Ivy Bee

Some bees are easy to spot, some bees are easy to photograph… some bees are not! Normally we wouldn’t be all that excited to share fleeting slow-motion videos of bees flying away… but ivy bees are different.

Ivy bees haven’t been in the UK for long and they’re so beautiful with their striking yellow stripes and amber fluffy bodies. They were first spotted in the UK back in 2001 down in Devon and since then they have slowly been slowly moving north and east. They appear when the ivy is in bloom and we’d like to challenge you to spot one. In fact we’re curious to see how far north our community might be able to record a sighting of these little guys.

When could you see an Ivy Bee?

Ivy bees have their timing down so they appear at the same time as the ivy flowers… so expect them anytime from late August depending on the weather. The males appear first and soon after the females appear to great excitement from the males who’ve been waiting for them. Again depending on the weather they’re likely to be around into early autumn… so October.

Where could you see one of these bees?

These bees have been slowly moving north and we’ve had sightings close to the Scottish border. Norfolk has many… we’ve taken these photos in Great Yarmouth right on the east coast.

Patchwork Leafcutter Bees

Bzzzz Feed #6: Patchwork Leafcutter Bee

The UK’s leafcutter bees are one piece of our urban wildlife that is really worth celebrating. Their antics seem way more bizarre than we learn to expect from UK wildlife, and yet these incredible little industrious bees are commonly found in back gardens. In fact people probably don’t notice them most of the time because they don’t hang around when cutting and transporting leaves. People are much more likely to notice the holes in the rose leaves that they leave behind if they notice anything. A good south facing bee hotel will invite them into your garden.

(PS. I you have a bee hotel already, we’d love it if you would complete our short online survey to help us uncover the secret lives of UK bee hotels. Thank you: CLICK HERE FOR THE SURVEY)

Where could you see a patchwork leafcutter bee?

These are the leafcutter bee you’re most likely to see in your own garden. There’s no particular area that you are more likely to see them in… these photos were taken in a coastal spot though they’re just as likely to be found inland. Do get yourself a good bee hotel so that you’re inviting them to nest in your garden to really enjoy them close up. They like rose leaves as a nest building material and they forage close to their nests so it shouldn’t be too difficult to make your garden leafcutter bee friendly.

When could I see a patchwork leafcutter bee?

So in 2020 we saw patchwork leafcutter bees in our garden in late May, where as in 2021 we saw them in late September. The books often say mid-June until early September for their flight season however in 2020 May was a hot month and in 2021 September was unseasonably hot.

Buff Tailed Bumblebee

Bzzzz Feed #4: Buff tailed bumblebee, AKA Bombus terrestris

One of the UK’s common bees and very similar looking to a white-tailed bumblebee… which means even having taken great care to make sure all the bees on this page are buff tailed bumblebees we’re still anxious there may be a white tailed bumblebee lurking among them.

This bumblebee is in the top 5 for bees with the longest tongues, which affects the flowers it loves to feed from. A social bee like all bumblebees it nests underground in colonies of several hundred bees.

When could you see one?

Generally these common bumblebees are spottable from March through to August, however this species is increasingly nesting in the winter especially in urban settings so you may see them in October or November

Where could you see one in the UK?

These guys are really common… in fact they’re on of the most common UK bees and you’re likely to spot them anywhere up and down the UK.

Find out more about the buff tailed bumblebee at this bee’s BWARS page HERE

Orange Vented Mason Bee

Bzzzz Feed #3: Orange vented mason bee, AKA Osmis leaiana

Okay, so this solitary bee completely fooled us…. we saw bits of leaf debris in nesting tubes and the bee’s striking ‘rear end’ and thought we had leafcutter bees nesting. This appears to be a common mistake with orange vented mason bees. However they do like a leaf!

Rather than delicately cutting discs from leaves and then using a patchwork of cut leaves to create a cell for their eggs, these bees mash up leaves into a pulp before moulding them into the walls of the cell where they lay their eggs. They then cap the nesting tube with another wall of this pesto like substance.

When could you see one?

They’re out and about from early May until late August

Where could you see one in the UK?

This is a south of England bee, so keep half an eye on your bee hotels… though they move quickly and so you might have to loiter by your bee hotel to catch a glimpse.

Find our more about the orange vented mason bee at this bee’s BWARS page HERE