Belongs to: solitary bees

Harebell carpenter bee Chelostoma campanularum

Best time to see: mid Jun to mid Aug

Key facts

Tiny solitary bees that nest in woodworm or beetle holes and plant stems

One species feeds on bellflowers (campanula) and another on buttercups

Widespread and fairly common in the southern half of England


Slender dark bees, harebell up to 11mm long, buttercup up to 7mm; the sexes are similar

Females have a pollen brush under the abdomen, yellow with buttercup pollen or white with harebell pollen


In summer the female constructs a series of chambers in each nest, laying an egg and supplying nectar and pollen as food

The eggs over-winter, then hatch out the following spring and develop within the nest, chewing their way out in summer

After mating, often conducted within flower heads, females repeat the cycle, dying out in autumn

© Tony Gunton

© Tony Gunton