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Of the approximately 25,000 identified species of bees a vast majority are solitary in nature. As a beekeeper my preoccupation is with apis mellifera (European Honey Bee) which is possibly the most socially responsible living entity on earth. The devotion each honey bee shows towards the betterment of the colony (approximately 50,000) is unparalleled. However, the majority of bee species live a solitary existence. While my personal favourite native bee is the Orange-rumped Bumblebee (Bombus melanopygus - How can you not love a bee whose distinguishing feature is it's butt) the most predominant solitary bee in the Vancouver area is the Blue Orchard Mason Bee (Osmia lignaria). This species of bee is an important pollinator in the spring and many gardeners and farmers like myself are building bee condos and stocking them with mason bee cocoons (easily available approximately $1 per cocoon) to promote our native pollinators. To learn how to build your own bee condo go to the Native Pollinators section of our Beekeepers' Library.
To learn more about solitary bees go to the Solitary Bee Blog, their Solitary Bee Video Page or their Facebook page.