Solitary bees have received some amazing support from bee enthusiasts in England! Two regional communities in London and Kent built massive world-record-breaking bee houses designed for their local solitary bees in 2010 and 2011.
The United Kingdom has 250 species of solitary bees including mason bees (similar to our resin bees) and leafcutter bee species. Just like the better known social honeybees, these vital solitary bee species are threatened by shortages of food and nesting sites.
-- English mason bees are similar to our resin bees. They nest inside narrow holes. Each female lays her eggs in a series of cells in the cavity and then seals the entrance with mud.
-- English leafcutter bees are very much like our Australian leafcutter bees. They cut neat circles or ovals from soft leaves and use this material to build individual cells inside narrow cavities. It is a fascinating sight to see a leafcutter bee flying back to her nest carrying a leaf piece held underneath her body by her legs.
2018 Important Update: Native bee specialists now think that it is better to build many small bee houses and scatter them around an area, rather than to build one massive bee house. This mimics the kind of scattered solitary bee nesting sites normally seen in the wild. Pests and parasites of solitary bees can build up to unacceptable numbers in a massive bee house and this can cause serious problems for the bee population.