7 species of solitary bee pests attracted to nest box-video

July 10, 2014

in A selection of my garden wildlife videos, Gardening For Wildlife, Leafcutter bees, Red mason solitary bees, Solitary Bee Observation Box

Solitary bees have many enemies. See some for yourself

From cuckoo wasps to cuckoo bees, tiny mites and even a fly all pests of solitary bees. Many of these filmed are sneaky and fast. Whilst the female bee is out they will sneak in, lay their egg and dart out quickly.


Coelioxys bee Nurturing Nature

Then simply hang around waiting for their next opportunity. The mite pest hitches a ride from a flower to the nest. These were all filmed when I was using the same nest box.

Sapyga quinquepunctata sting used as ovipositor to penetrate cell wall

Have a peek at other solitary bee enemies.

“All my articles and videos, available free, are funded by my presentations and sales of award-winning bumblebee nest boxessolitary bee boxes,  and wormeries. Please help by spreading the word and forwarding this link to your friends and colleagues. http://nurturing-nature.co.uk  Thank you” George Pilkington

You will see a Monodontomerus wasp, a Sapyga quinquepunctata wasp?, (where do they get these names from? But a great name eh?!!) a Coelioxys cuckoo bee, a Cacoxenus indagator fly, a ruby tailed Chrysis bee, a Pteromalus apum/venutus? wasp and some Chaetodactylus osmiae pollen mites inside a red mason bee cell!

For info and link to buy an excellent book Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland by Steven Falk

An extremely useful resource supports this book by a special website feature within Steve Falk’s Flickr website which furnishes extra photos and other useful resources to assist with identification.

Solitary Bees book by Ted Benton

Interested in Citizen Science and pollinators? The Buzz Club 


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Alan January 22, 2015 at 2:19 pm

Hi George,
I am trying to make my own nest boxes for solitary bees. What size holes do you recommend for boxes? I can use a router table or table saw. Do the perspex sides not put the bees off?


nurturingnature January 26, 2015 at 7:31 pm

Hi Alan, I have emailed you. cheers George


Daphne Mayes March 14, 2015 at 8:29 am

Dear Mr. Pilkington,

I was very impressed with the videos you posted on youtube of solitary bee behavior! I am a graduate student at the University of Kansas, USA, interested in host-parasite interactions and would really appreciate your insight regarding this topic. Given your extensive experience and time observing such interactions, do you get any sense that hosts can detect when a nest parasite is present? If so, do they spend less time foraging (i.e., guarding their nest)? Any thoughts or insight you may have on this topic is greatly appreciated. I’m so inspired by the detail and careful thought you put into your work. I look forward to hearing from you.


Daphne Mayes

Graduate student
University of Kansas
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology


nurturingnature March 14, 2015 at 8:31 am

Hi Daphne,

Thanks very much for your kind words. Its not very often I have complimentary feedback so thanks for making the effort. If you do n’t mind I will reply shortly. I have several videos that I have not put on you tube and of course seen quite a lot re this fascinating area. I will contact you shortly.

Thanks again,

Best wishes, George Pilkington


Janet Bennett July 5, 2017 at 12:13 pm

We have 2 bee boxes that have been filled for the last 6 years withleaf cutter beesand no problem. This year however other bees are removing the leaves and the eggs. What are they and can it be avoided. Thankyou


nurturingnature July 5, 2017 at 1:43 pm

This is a rather common behaviour when there may be too many bees and not enough nesting cavities for them.Thanks for sharing, George


Janet Bennett July 5, 2017 at 7:10 pm

There are a lot of empty cavities, they are targeting ones that have been used. We have watched them removing the cut leaves and the eggs


nurturingnature July 7, 2017 at 6:12 am

This is still a common practice, for reasons we do not know. George


Janet Bennett July 7, 2017 at 8:11 am

Thanks for that 😊

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