Ivy bee

Ivy bee ©Jane Adams

Ivy bee

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Scientific name: Colletes hederae
The ivy bee is a new arrival to the UK. First recorded here in 2001, it is slowly spreading north. It feeds mainly on the nectar of ivy flowers and can be seen in autumn when this plant is in bloom.

Top facts


Length: 1.0-1.3cm

Conservation status

Introduced, non-native species.

When to see

September to November


The ivy bee was first recorded in the UK in 2001, and has now been found in much of Southern England and Wales, and in the Channel Islands. As suggested by its common name, Ivy is the main plant used by this bee for pollen. It is seen when ivy is in flower, from early September to early November. Ivy bees nest in loose, light or sandy soil on southern-facing banks and cliffs with ivy nearby for foraging. They are solitary bees, but when conditions are suitable, there may be thousands of nests in the same area.

What to look for

The ivy bee looks similar to a honey bee; it has an orangey-brown, hairy thorax, and distinct black and yellow stripes on its abdomen.

Where to find

Found in Southern England and Wales, and the Channel Islands.

Did you know?

Ivy bees feed mainly on ivy, so they time their emergence to fit in with the flowering period of this common plant: late September to November.