Bees are some of the most familiar insects but most people think of bees as social insects. In fact there are many more species of solitary bee.

There are 254 species of bees in the British Isles. Bees construct their nests by tunnelling in the earth or by utilizing pre-existing cavities in rotten wood, plant stems or beetle burrows in timber.

Adults and larvae are vegetarian - they drink nectar, honey and ingest pollen. The pollen is usually collected by females in the branched hairs of the body, although one genus transports its pollen in the crop (an insect's 'pre-stomach'). Most bees are solitary - only the honey bee, bumble bee and some mining bees are truly social.

A photograph of a solitary bee.

A photograph of a solitary bee.

Other names for (or types of) Apoidea include:

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