Its that time of year again when the Ivy is beginning to flower, there appears to be increased activity around the flower heads. Look closely and you realise that the Ivy Bees have arrived, in reality the males have been around since late August, the females emerging in early September.
The Ivy Mining Bee is a solitary Bee, its full name Colletes hederae. it's a smart looking Bee with brown hairy thorax, the abdomen black with fairly equidistant yellow bands. Its relatively new to our shores, first noticed in 2001, now quite common around the southern coastal counties.
You can sense how important these Ivy flowers are to the Ivy Bee by the sheer numbers of Bees visiting the flower heads.
These lovely little Bees are a type of solitary bee, nesting in the ground usually on a south facing grassy bank or a lawn, and sometimes in high numbers. They are one of the last species of Bee to appear in the year, timing their emergence with the flowering of the Ivy.
The female lays an egg in each cavity and gathers a quantity of pollen and nectar for the larvae to feed on, they have a relatively short life span, about six weeks, most have disappeared by early November.
Enjoy them while you can.