Serving Edmonton for over 120 years

Solitary Bees


Size: solitary bees can range from as small as 2 mm (0.08 inches) to as large as 3 cm (1.2 inches)
Color: Solitary bees come in a wide variety of colors, depending on the species.
Description: Solitary bees are bees that live alone rather than in colonies like honeybees. They typically do not have a queen or a hive but instead make individual nests for their offspring. Solitary bees are diverse in appearance and behaviours, but they are generally small and not aggressive.

Solitary bees are important pollinators of many plants, including fruit trees, vegetables, and wildflowers. They are typically more efficient pollinators than honeybees because they do not have to divide their time between collecting nectar and pollen and caring for a colony.

Some common species of solitary bees include mason bees, leafcutter bees, and carpenter bees. These bees often nest in pre-existing holes or cavities, such as hollow plant stems, woodpecker holes, or insect tunnels in dead wood. Some species also dig their nests in the ground.

Identifying solitary bees can be challenging, as there are many different species that can vary widely in appearance. However, here are some general characteristics to look for:

  1. Size: Solitary bees are typically smaller than honeybees, ranging from 2 mm (0.08 inches) to 3 cm (1.2 inches) in length, depending on the species.
  2. Body shape: Solitary bees come in many different shapes but are generally more slender and less fuzzy than honeybees. Some species have long, narrow bodies, while others are more rounded.
  3. Colour: Solitary bees can be many different colours, including metallic blues and greens, shades of black, brown, and yellow, and even bright oranges and reds. Some species have distinctive patterns or markings, such as stripes or spots.
  4. Nesting behaviour: Solitary bees typically do not live in large colonies or hives like honeybees. Instead, they make individual nests for their offspring. Look for small holes or cavities in wood, soil, or plant stems where bees may be nesting.


At Birch Fumigators, we provide a free pest identification service that helps determine the right course of action to deal with unwanted pests. However, it’s important to recognize that bees are not considered pests, as they are vital to pollinating crops and maintaining healthy ecosystems. That’s why we work closely with local beekeepers to safely relocate bees from your property instead of exterminating them.

If you suspect that you may have solitary bees on your property, there are a few signs that you can look out for:

  1. Nesting sites: Solitary bees often nest in small holes or cavities in wood, soil, or plant stems. Look for small, perfectly round holes (about the size of a pencil lead) in wooden structures, tree trunks, or dead branches.
  2. Bee activity: Solitary bees are typically active during the day, and you may notice them flying in and out of their nesting sites. They may also be seen collecting pollen and nectar from flowers.
  3. Mud tubes: Some species of solitary bees, such as mason bees, build their nests with mud. Look for small tubes or tunnels made of mud, which may be found in soil, wood, or even on the sides of buildings.
  4. Bee emergence: In the spring, you may notice small bees emerging from their nesting sites. These bees are often smaller and less fuzzy than honeybees, and they may fly close to the ground before heading off to collect pollen and nectar.
  5. Bee behaviour: Solitary bees are typically not aggressive and are unlikely to sting unless provoked. However, if you get too close to or disturb their nesting sites, they may become defensive and buzz around you.


If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to avoid disturbing the bees or their nesting sites. Solitary bees are important pollinators, and they play a valuable role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. If you are concerned about the bees on your property, contact us at Birch Fumigators.

It’s important to note that solitary bees are important pollinators and play a valuable role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. However, if you have concerns about solitary bees on your property, there are a few steps you can take to discourage them:

  1. Plant non-preferred flowers: Solitary bees are attracted to certain types of flowers, so planting non-preferred flowers can help reduce their presence. Some examples of flowers that solitary bees tend to avoid include marigolds, petunias, and snapdragons.
  2. Provide alternative nesting sites: If you want to help support solitary bee populations without having their nest on your property, consider providing alternative nesting sites away from home. This can include a bee hotel or a nesting box specifically designed for solitary bees.


It’s important to remember that solitary bees are beneficial insects and should only be removed or discouraged if they are causing a specific problem. By taking steps to prevent solitary bees without harming them, we can help protect these important pollinators and support healthy ecosystems.


est. 1900

Don't Let Bugs Get the Best of You


est. 1900

Don't Let Bugs Get the Best of You