PoMS guide to identifying Ivy Bees

Ivy flowers provide an important late-season source of nectar and pollen for many insects. One insect that you may encounter on Ivy blossom is the Ivy Bee (Colletes hederae), a solitary bee species that was first found near the south coast of England in 2001 and has subsequently spread to many areas of England and Wales, with reports of potential sightings from Scotland this year (as yet not fully confirmed).

For the PoMS FIT Counts you don't need to be able to identify which solitary bees you are seeing, but since so many counts are done on Ivy at this time of year we thought it would be of interest to provide some more information on how to identify Ivy Bees, and in particular how to distinguish them from Honeybees, which are a similar size and are also frequently seen on Ivy flowers. Download our Ivy Bee identification guide, and see the other links listed below for more information.

If you have seen an Ivy Bee during your FIT Counts, or at any time, you can add the record (ideally with a photograph) to iRecord so that it can be shared with BWARS and contribute to the recording scheme data.

To see what insect groups are seen on Ivy during PoMS Fit Counts go to the target flower charts.

For more on species recording see Taking things further.