Ivy bee

Colletes hederae


This bee was first recorded in the UK in 2001, it 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. When conditions are suitable there may be thousands of nests in the same area.

How to identify

This bee looks similar to a honey bee with an orange/brown hairy thorax and a black and yellow striped abdomen.

Where to find it

Southern England and Wales and the Channel Islands


When to find it

  • September
  • October
  • November

How can people help

Bees are a vitally important for pollinating hundreds of plant species, including many crops. But they are under threat from loss of habitat and the increasing use of pesticides and herbicides. The Wildlife Trusts recognise the importance of healthy habitats to support all kinds of species, so are working closely with farmers, landowners and developers to promote wildlife-friendly practices. You can help too: encourage bees and wasps into your garden by providing nectar-rich flower borders and fruit trees. To find out more about gardening for wildlife, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Species information

Common name
Ivy bee
Latin name
Colletes hederae
Bees and wasps
Length 10-13mm
Conservation status
Least concern