Ivy bees nesting in the garden

Last year I found two Ivy bee (Colletes hederae) making their nests in the little bit of garden I attempt to grow some herbs in. My Lemon Balm is very vigorous and has been growing very close to the nest site so have tried to clear an area to give the bees plenty of opportunity to tunnel into my dry, sandy soil.

The tiles were placed on the edge of the grass to mark out the area where I had seen the two nests. This year there are two nests in the corner of the site and another three under the edge with the tiles.

Another bee has decided on tunnelling vertically near the corner with the tiles. That makes six holes in all!

Not a bad increase over the year. After all activity has stopped I will cover the area with carboard just to ensure I do not dig it out by accident.

Ivy bees will typically nest in areas where there is scant vegetation such as forest paths, like the photograph above taken in a woodland path near the house. In 2014 I found a large nesting site of Ivy bees, it was about 15 metres long stretching along a forest path, but now it no longer exists. I have looked for the past few years and only found a small number of nests situated on the same path but nearer a road. The path has become a popular track for quad bikes in recent years so perhaps the large nest site was destroyed.

I just hope the site in our garden thrives, although the ivy flowers have not done as well this year because of the extreme drought we have been experiencing this summer.


3 thoughts on “Ivy bees nesting in the garden

  1. That’s very good! I hope the colony expands. They do seem to come and go a bit but I dont know what really influences them. It’s been an odd year for the ivy here in Devon, much is still not in flower and some has dried up without flowering. Fortunately some has flowered properly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Amelia,
    thanks for reminding me of your lovely “frenchgarden”. In Germany the ivy bee (Colletes hederae) is having a bad season due to cool and rainy wheather. There were only a few days with sunshine for provisioning the nests with pollen so far. Otherwise the species has increased a lot over here and has meanwhile successfully colonised several areas in Northern Germany. I have seen many nesting sites with 300 and more females nesting, even in gardens. But Epeolus fallax still seems to be restricted to a region in Southwestern Germany (Kaiserstuhl) where I had discovered it for the first time in 2016.
    I am curious how this brood parasite will spread in years to come. In France it is already widespread. Eventually it may even appear in the UK some time like C. hederae which was first discovered in 2001 (it was known from Guernsey and Jersey before).
    Best wishes


  3. Thank you so much for your comment. Google is great. With a click I can read an English translation of your discovery of Epeolus fallax as a parasite of Ivy bees in Germany. I have been watching out for it near my bees but I have seen none but I have seen them on my Asters in the front garden. Amelia


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