London (change)
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09/06/2013 at 15:09

I know some honey bees do resemble wasps, but could someone please let me know if these are bees or wasps in my garden?





09/06/2013 at 15:41

Not sure but I'd like to know too as I have a small group trying to burrow into the soil. Not sure what they are up to.

09/06/2013 at 15:43

I think these are wool carder bees 

You lucky chap - important pollinators but only very localised distribution outside South Wales 

09/06/2013 at 15:46

Corinne - do yours look exactly the same, or are they different in any way?  

Could yours be Tawny Mining bees - No. 3 here 

09/06/2013 at 15:51

No mine look exactly like LeadFarmer's, no distinct stripes but yellow edge to belly. Do wool carder bees dig into soil?

09/06/2013 at 15:53

Well Im in the middle of building a path in my garden, and Ive dug out a hole in the middle to blant a large shrub. Ive temporarily filled the hole with stone so my young son doesnt fall into it, and these bees/wasps are tunnelling into the clay in the hole and either nesting or collecting the clay...

 Now im more than happy to halt my project if they are bees and would be thrilled if they were nesting. But if they are just wasps collecting mud then I may have to disturb them. You can see in the next photo the holes they have made tunnelling into the clay..


09/06/2013 at 16:01

I'm sure they're bees of one sort or another - don't look like any type of wasp I know - their abdomens are completely the wrong shape.  They look like wool carder bees to me and as I said they're not common outside a few specific areas  - could you find your local wildlife trust's website and email them so they can add them to their records?

09/06/2013 at 16:06

Just a thought, have you got any roses with circular pieces cut out of the leaves?  They might be leaf-cutter bees - ours cut pieces of rose leaf and line holes in wood with them before laying their eggs, but they might line holes in the ground I suppose.

09/06/2013 at 16:10

A wasp is not easily mistaken to be honest. They are much more aggressive than bees in general. They also have brighter markings, with hairless abdomens and a very thin waist area, whereas bees of all types are rounder in form.

These are bees, hard at work in our gardens hurray.

09/06/2013 at 16:13

Thanks Wintersong. I have never had problems identifying wasps before, what with their distinctive yellow/black colours, and thier bodies seem to be seperated from their heads by just a thin segment.

Whilst these look like wasps, they are different enough to make me wonder? So do we definately think they are bees?

09/06/2013 at 16:19

Yes, they look like bees to me. Wasps are bolder-coloured and not at all furry.

Come to think of it, there are very few wasps around at the moment anyway. I saw a few queens looking to nest a couple of months ago, but nothing since then. Bees are what you'd expect to find in the garden now. Wasps, if they do appear, are more friend than foe at this stage in the year, as they feed on aphids now, whereas later on they seek out fruit and that's when they become a nuisance.

09/06/2013 at 16:54

Thanks, Ive emailed my local wildlife trust to see if they can help.

So now I need to establish exactly what type they are and if they are infact nesting or simply collecting mud/clay.

09/06/2013 at 16:57

Doing some searching on the internet, some bees do look remarkably like wasps dont they...

There are quite a few of them swarming around the hole in my garden so I guess I can rule out Solitary bees. Its most likely to be one of these I guess..

Honey bee...


Carder bee


Or the solitary Tawny Mining bee?...,%20_Derbyshire,_cpt_Philip_Precey.JPG


09/06/2013 at 18:28

Managed to get a few better photos by switching my camera to macro mode. Im convinced they are bees but still not sure if they are honey bees...


09/06/2013 at 19:15

Hi Leadfarmer, some great pictures. Have you seen this site?


It's a nationwide study on what bees are distributed across the uk

I put a picture in and they id it as a common carder bee, my one had a circular bald patch on its head

09/06/2013 at 20:17

Thanks, Ive just uploaded some photos and added the required info, but it then lead me to a page asking me to identyfy it myself. It didnt look like any of the suggested pictures.

09/06/2013 at 20:35

Is it Megachile centuncularis, a leaf cutter bee? we get them in our garden.


09/06/2013 at 20:40

I think the same thing happened to me, I got an email from them a couple of days later telling me which it was

09/06/2013 at 20:40

Mmmm, it could well be. Thanks.

09/06/2013 at 20:44

LF there are lots of bee videos on youtube, maybe it might help to see them in action

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