You are visiting the Pollinator Project in Guernsey
In Guernsey, we have around 90 species of bee – six are bumblebees and one is the honeybee.
These species are social and live in colonies. The other 93% are solitary bees – that’s 83 species! Many species are very similar and hard to tell apart, so we have picked twenty species that are much more identifiable.
Where do they live
Unlike bumblebees and honeybees, solitary bees do not live in colonies, produce honey or have a queen. However some species nest in groups or ‘aggregations’, but they are still nesting on their own.
Some solitary bees make nests in hollow stalks, but most dig tubular burrows in soil, sand, mortar or wood. A few nest in empty snail shells! You can help solitary bees by making a bee hotel for your garden, which will be used as nests by species such as mason and leafcutter bees.
What do they eat
Solitary bees, like other pollinating insects, feed on nectar and pollen from flowers. Certain flowers are better at providing food for insects than others.
When we talk about Guernsey butterflies, we mean butterfly species that are seen elsewhere in the UK and Europe, but that breed and over-winter in Guernsey as egg, larva, pupa or adult. As well as food, habitat is very important for these butterflies – a plant to lay their eggs on, a plant to shelter in and a plant for their larvae to eat.
We also see butterflies that migrate here in the summer, such as the Clouded Yellow. They are never able to establish here sadly – in distant times they would come over in huge numbers apparently, sometimes bringing with them Pale Clouded Yellows, and even Marbled Whites. But modern farming methods and pesticides mean that kind of hasn’t occurred in my lifetime, indeed the last major irruption coincided with the end of WWII.
If the migrant butterflies arrive in midsummer they can breed on certain plants and a second generation can then be much more numerous, but that is also very rare.
So, what can be seen here in Guernsey beside our 19 residents?
In order of rarity, commonest first ( This isn’t a definitive list and we are working with the Guernsey Biological Records centre on a wide list of all the butterflies that visit Guernsey and are hoping to release this in 2022.)
I, as a butterfly recorder since 1997, have seen these migrant butterflies in Guernsey.
Clouded Yellow (above)
Queen of Spain Fritillary
Some of our keener butterfly spotters have also recorded these rarities:
Pale Clouded Yellow
Find out more
Download the leaflet
If you would like to join a Butterfly Spotting walk, look out for Facebook events in the Summer, or email us