Ivy Bee (Colletes hederae)

Now this delightful little solitary bee is a real treat. First recorded in this country in Dorset in 2001 and in just eight years has spread across much of southern England. It is found mainly in coastal locations but is appearing more and more inland.

This one I photographed at Lodmore, Weymouth and I saw them again at Durlston Country Park, Swanage on Friday.

This species of bee does not emerge until September when its main nectar plant, Ivy (Hedera helix) is in flower and that is obviously where it takes it scientific name from, 'hederae' meaning 'of the Hedera', ie Ivy, hence its colloquial name, the Ivy Bee.

Now extremely plentiful along the Dorset coast, it is well worth looking for them where ever you find Ivy in flower and with the sun shining on it. They are active little bees and you may need to watch a while until one decides to settle down for lunch and then you can have a good look at it.

Colletes hederae is not a pest of anything and so should be seen as a welcome arrival to our shores, not all incomers are bad!

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