The page is a brief overview about different types of bee and gives information to users of the Walk about the habitat that hosts one particular type of bee, and then tells you what you can do to encourage bees in your own garden.


There are three basic types of bee, two sociable and one is solitary. Many people think of bees in beehives producing honey. These have a highly complex social structure and it is not easy to simply recreate a colony. Many people are also familiar with the big and fluffy bumblebee. These also have a social structure but live in smaller colonies. Some bees are solitary and lay their eggs in underground burrows. We have, in the acid grassland section, (see separate page) a site where the Adrena bee lives, it is a particularly special part of the Walk.

Red Mason beeDr Clark noted at our May 2011 AGM that members and other interested people can easily encourage a type of bee known as the Red Mason bee, by creating (or buying) a suitable habitat. More bees will mean more pollination and thus help all plants around us.

The nearby garden centre at Alexandra Palace sells suitable devices (in the section where you find bird nesting boxes) but one can make one’s own by cutting short sections (approximately 150 mm to 200 mm) of bamboo cane and stuffing them into a plastic tube or a two pint milk flagon and hanging them in the trees so that the bamboo lays horizontally.

In gardens one can encourage bees by planting the following:

Top 10 annuals and biennials

Poached egg plant, Cosmos, Sunflower, Hollyhock, Wallflower, Zinnia, Californian poppy, Candytuft, Cornflour, China Aster

Top 10 perennials

Arabis, Bellflower (campanula species), Catmint, Mignonette, Russian sage, Dahlia, Ice plant (sedum), Oriental poppy, Verbascum, Woad

Top 5 herbs

Rosemary, Borage, Thyme, Mint, Marjoram

Top 5 bulbs

Crocus (especially yellow ones), Autumn crocus, Fritilliaries, Siberian squill, Summer snowflakes

Top 10 shrubs

Dog Rose, Heather, Lavender, Ceoanthus (only the spring flowering type),Rock Rose (cistus), Hazel, Holly, Cotoneaster, Buddleia Globosa, Sweet Bay

Top 5 climbers

Virginia creeper, Clematis vitelba, Clematis cirrhosa, Ivy, Clematis Montana

All fruit bushes such as raspberries, currants and blackberries.