The bees you see at Risley Moss are likely to be either bumblebees or solitary bees. Honey bees, usually kept by beekeepers, live in large groups of around 50,000. Of the 251 species of bee found in the UK, only one is a honey bee, 26 are bumblebees, and the rest are solitary bees!
Bumblebees live in small groups of up to 150, and unsurprisingly the solitary bee lives entirely alone!
Did you know that the fertilised female solitary bee will lay its eggs in several different nests and will supply enough food for the developing larvae to eat? She lives long enough to lay her eggs, and then sadly, she'll die!
Bees are essential because they pollinate the seed making flowers on many of our trees and plants. Without them, we wouldn't have such an array of fruits and vegetables, and there wouldn't be tea, coffee and chocolate!
There's no need to be scared of bees as both the bumblebee and solitary bee are unlikely to bother you. They're genuinely fascinating creatures with an incredible life cycle and habits.
The 251 types of solitary bees may live the soil, hollow stems, decaying stumps or in loose mortar around brickwork. There are even mining bees which excavate and live in tunnels in the ground! Others like the leafcutter bee live in hollows such as plant stems or cavities in deadwood, some even in snail shells!
There's even cuckoo bees which lay eggs in the nests of other bees. When the bee larva hatches out it eats the pollen store along with the host! Nasty.
Did you know?
- Bumble bees live in small groups of up to 150
- Without bees we wouldn't have chocolate!
- There were mining bees? These excavate soil and live underground