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Most Common Bee Species Found in the UK

Posted on August 20th, 2014 by Panther Pest Control Team
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Did you know that there are more than 25,000 different species of bee in the world? These types of bee can be divided into about 4000 genera and nine groups of bee families. According to statistics there are more than 250 species of bee in the United Kingdom. Here are the most common bees you can see in the UK.

The Honey Bee

The Honey Bees come from the Apidae family and are classified as “social” bees due to the fact that they live in colonies of more than 50,000 workers. Worldwide, there are more than 10 different types of honey bee. In the UK, you can typically see the European Honey Been known as Apis Mellifera. These types of bee are generally used by beekeepers for honey harvest. Honey bees are also used in crop pollination, probably one of the most important plant process on the planet.

As with various other types of bees, honey bees suffer from problems such as the Colony Collapse Disorder and the Missing Bees phenomenon. According to surveys the number of honey bees in the world is slowly declining each year.

The Bumblebee

bumblebee

Image by digital cat

The Bumblebees come from the Apidae family and their colonies are relatively small compared to the Honey Bee’s – from 100 to 200 workers. Bumblebees are classified as social bees and they aren’t generally aggressive unless their nest is attacked by a threat. These types of bee are considered as great pollinators of flowers and other plants. During the spring you can often see them in gardens flying from one flower to another. Experts believe that their high efficiency as pollinators is due to their furry body shape and their ability to “buzz pollinate“.

It’s interesting to note that there’s a special “social parasite” bumblebees species known as “cuckoo bumblebees”. These bees inhabit the next of other bumblebee hosts.

Leafcutter Bees and Mason Bees

leafcutter-bee

Image by Bob Peterson

These two types of bees are solitary bees – they live on their own and don’t rely on the protection of a hive. Solitary bees construct their own nests and carry for their egg cells by themselves. In some cases these bees may form a temporary group with other individual bees to nest close to each other and guard their larvae. Mason bees generally make nests in old mortar and crevices where they can use the ready-made holes and stems in the wood.

mason-bee

Image by David Short

Nowadays solitary bees are being used more often in commercial bee pollination.

Carpenter Bees and Digger Bees

Less than a decade ago Carpenter bees and Digger bees were classified as representatives of the family “Anthophoridae”. However, that has changed in recent years and now they’re considered members of the Apidae family. Like Mason bees and Leafcutter bees, these two bee species are also solitary bees and good pollinators.

digger-bee

Image by David Short

Digger bees are know for their ability to make nests in soil. They’re typically big in size, from three to five centimeters long, and have hairy bodies. Carpenter bees, on the other hand, vary in size, shape and color. For example, some species in the UK have ginger hairy body, while others have black shiny bodies. Carpenter bees typically nest in old wood.

Mining Bees

mining-bee

Image by Tom Bech

Mining bees are another solitary type of bee, although sometimes they like to build their nests close to each other. As their name suggests, mining bees build tunnels and cells underground. Their tunnel entrances can be often spotted in the garden: little mounds of earth in pots, borders or lawns that look similar to worm casts. Although some people believe that these bees cause damage, they’re actually harmless to your plants. On the contrary, mining bees are excellent pollinators of flowers and plants.

Even though bees can significantly benefit your outdoor environment in various ways, it can be dangerous and inconvenient to let them make nests near your home. To ensure proper bee control, you need to get rid of the bee hives in your premise. This task can be dangerous if not done by following specific safety precautions and using the right tools. Consider hiring a pest control expert before attempting to eliminate the bees on your own.