Bee Encyclopedia

Leaf Cutter Bee

A small, black, white and orange bee carrying a leaf into it's nest in a hole
Megachile (Delomegachile) willughbiella

  The Leaf cutter bee is a near-threatened solitary bee species in Ireland. Identifiable by their unique characteristic of cutting and carrying leaves to use in their nests, which are usually in the ground or small cavities they find. There has only been 136 records of it since the 1800 in Ireland.

Ashy Miner Bee

A Black and White striped bee on a dandelion
Andrena (Melandrena) cineraria

  This solitary bee measures at just around 15mm in length and is one of the earliest bees in the garden each Spring. They are relatively common, and are easily identified by two the two grey, or ashy, bands of colour on their Thorax. They nest in the ground by burrowing holes, and are quite active.

Large Red Tailed Bumble Bee

A large, Black bee sitting on a purple flower
Bombus (Melanobombus) lapidarius

  One of the largest bees in Ireland, the Large Red Tailed Bumble Bee are considered a threatened species. Every year we usually have a few to spot in the garden during the summer. Easily one of the best bees to capture, as they tend to stay still for long periods of time compared to the smaller, hyper-active bumblers.

Early Bumble Bee

A medium sized black bee with two bright yellow stripes on a white flower
Bombus (Melanobombus) lapidarius

  The Early Bumble Bee is named for it’s early start in the year, appearing as soon as February in some places. They are fairly common, and nest in the ground or aerial cavities like bird boxes. When in flower, the crab-apple tree is rife with these eager bees. They are identified by the two yellow rings on the body, and the orange hairs on their bottoms.

White-tailed Bumble Bee

A large, Black bee with yellow stripes and white bottom hanging onto flowers
Bombus (Bombus) lucorum

  These bright bees are commonly found all over Ireland almost all year round. The workers of the B.locorum and the B.terrestris species are impossible to tell apart by the eye, however if you see this bee it is most likely a Bombus locorum. The Males of this species have a lot more yellow on their bodies than Females, and are striking in appearance.

Common Carder Bee

A soft, small orange bee in a white apple tree flower
Bombus (Thoracombus) pascuorum

  Likely the most common bee species in Ireland, these small fellas can be seen year-round hanging out in whatever is blooming. Their characteristic ginger thorax makes them very easy to spot and identify. These ginger hairs can become faded or bleached by the sun which sometimes make them look similar to the Large carder bee. These small bees nest in surface litter.

Further Reading