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Solitary vs. Social
Solitary bees are very important for the environment. They pollinate plants at a more efficient rate than social bees. A single mason bee can pollinate the same amount as 120 worker honey bees. Solitary bees are often overlooked but are of the utmost importance to the environment.
There are around 400
species of solitary bees located in Ontario. The main types of solitary bees are Leafcutter, Digger, Carpenter, Miner, and Mason bees. Solitary bees spend most of their time foraging for nectar. When they land on a flower, small particles of pollen stick to their legs and transfer to other plants, pollinating them to produce seeds.
When a bee finds an adequate
nest such as dry hollow tubes, she
will begin to collect materials to create
a cell for her eggs. She lays her eggs placing females in the back and males in the front of the tube as males emerge sooner in the spring. She partitions each cell with a ball of pollen stuck together with nectar for the larvae to eat and develop into adult bees. She caps and seals it using materials such as
mud, leaves, or sap. These bees emerge, mate, and start the cycle again.
Solitary bees are different from
social bees. Solitary bees remain to themselves and are autonomous rather than interacting with others. They are usually found on their own and are not part of colonies. Solitary bees are also non-aggressive and rarely attack humans unless they feel threatened. 90% of all bees
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