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Most of the Ivy bees (Colletes hederae) I spotted when I was out walking last week were living up to their reputation as busy little mini-beasties.

But then I spotted this one, sitting on a leaf, cleaning the pollen off its legs, wings and body. I asked politely if it would please smile for the camera … and it did … I think.

Ivy bees only arrived in Britain in 2001 but they’ve slowly expanded their range across southern England and in to south Wales. They’re very handsome little bees and completely harmless but can only be seen when the Ivy is flowering, from September to November. If you spot one, it would really help if you could report it so that the wonderful folk at BWARS (the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society) can track the bees’ spread around Britain.