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For our identification purposes we can arrange bees into three groups: Honey bees, Bumble bees and Solitary Bees.

Bees

All bees are very useful and without them we would not have many of the trees, plants and juicy fruits and vegetables that we all enjoy eating.


We are all familiar with the “Winnie the Poo” Honey Pot which is how bumble bees raise their young and store their honey - in little wax pots. Bumblebees are quite large, furry and round. These bees can be seen bumbling around in our gardens from spring to late summer visiting our garden flowers. Bumble bees come in many different colours and sizes. They use old and abandoned mouse nests to build their nests in. Some will use birds nests and others will build nests in clumps of dried grass.


The nest is annual and only the queens survive the winter to start off again in a new location the next spring.

 

bumblebee nest

Bumblebee nest showing honey pots and adult bees

bumble bee

Bumblebee worker (Bombus terrestris)

                                                                The other bees that may resemble honey or bumble bees are                                                     Solitary bees. These may live in large groups but work

                                                    individually for themselves. These bees have very short lives                                                     and will be gone after only a few weeks. The female bees lay several eggs, supply their young with food and seal up the cells or cavities which remain dormant until their offspring emerge the same time the following year. They are excellent Garden Pollinators.  

Honeybees are different. They are the most socially advanced

of all the insects and live in a colony all through the year.

They use higher forms of communication and are able to store

enough food  for humans to be able to harvest which in turn is

one of the best natural health foods that we can consume.


They will nest in dry cavities, hollow trees, roofs  and chimneys.


Honeybees are the only UK insects which swarm.



queen honey bee

Solitary bees will nearly always nest in sunny locations: In south or west facing house walls, in the ground on dry soil or in wooden crevices.     

Honeybee queen & workers

(Apis Mellifera lingustica)