One isn’t always the loneliest number. Contrary to the popular view of bees as social swarming insects, Solitary bees (also known as Mining bees due to their nesting habits) are highly antisocial and will live in individual cells burrowed into the ground.
Solitary bees are easily recognisable due to their colouring, with most displaying a dark green, blue, or metallic reddish brown instead of the normal black and yellow associated with bees. Some have bands of lighter hairs on the abdomen and light markings on the face. They range in size from ⅛ to ¾ inch in length, with females typically a little longer than the males.
They are usually only a nuisance pest when they are found nesting in large numbers so don’t panic if you notice a single bee making its home in your garden.
Found across the Manchester and Cheshire area, Solitary bees are most active during the spring and summer months, with their mating season taking place in March and April. After the bees mate, it takes roughly two weeks for the eggs to develop into fully grown adult bees.
Solitary ground bees tend to burrow in dry, open spaces and create long tunnels that have separate cells to house each individual bee. Though they all nest in large numbers, they do not act collectively like other species of bee. If you have solitary ground bees, you may notice small mounds of soil or sand on your lawn next to small holes, indicating an underground network. Remember though, this won’t stop you using your garden or tending to your lawn
If you have solitary ground bees in your yard, you may want to try to limit dry spaces. They thrive in dry soils, so watering areas lacking moisture should deter them. They are also fond of thin grasses, so by promoting growth in these areas with watering and regular care, the bees will be put off by the longer grass.
While solitary ground bees are not usually aggressive, they may sting when swatted away. They will only attack when provoked and can usually be safely ignored. If you are allergic to bees and are stung by a solitary ground bee, monitor your symptoms and seek medical attention if necessary.
If you do decide that your Solitary bee population needs to be dealt with, please contact Manchester Pest Services as soon as possible to arrange a visit from one of our technicians. On arrival, we will be able to assess the scale of the potential problem and offer a range of effective treatments.