A Wildlife Preservation Canada Team surveyed High Park in August 2012 and observed the following Bumble Bee Species in High Park:
See photos in Bee Gallery below
In High Park there is a fairly large aggregation of ground-nesting bees (Colletes) – an elementary school's "Tickle Bees", so named for the way they feel when they land on your skin (see article). These are spring ground nesters, with perhaps 4,000 - 10,000 bees on one east-facing sandy hill, and of course many smaller groups of nesting sites throughout the oak savannah and woodlands. They are out in April and May.
These are solitary bees which don't have one large communal nest, although they dig tunnels next to one another. Each female provisions her own nest, which is a single tunnel in the sand, often at places where a path or other dip in the soil makes an exposed bank.
These cute little bees don't sting even if you sit right in the middle of them. They are quite an exquisite phenomena to watch and listen to, as you can see and hear at "Resonating Bodies" from artists Sarah Peebles and Stephen Humphrey!
There are many native pollinators in Toronto most people don't know about, and lots of them are found in the park! The Parkdale and Toronto Horticultural Societies help with the old-fashioned garden in Colborne Lodge, and their Pollinator Gardens Project has made a pollinator garden right in the park (see map) where you can see native plants and native pollinators together. You can find dates when tours of the pollinator garden will be held in the park at their Events page. In their blog, there are pictures and interesting facts about bees in the park – for instance, why do bumblebees love chipmunks? or what is that huge wasp on those weird flowers?
Scientists are still finding new bees in Toronto, and Ph.D. candidate Scott MacIvor has set up bee nesting boxes in the park to see which species can be found there.
See also Pollinator Garden.
Dr. Clement Kent - Pollinator Gardens Project
Sarah Peebles - Resonating Bodies
Brown-belted Bumble Bee
Red-belted Bumble Bee
Common Eastern Bumble Bee
Cuckoo Bee, Nomada species
A Guide to Toronto's Pollinators, David Suzuki Foundation
CBC radio program - Listen to this program aired on Ideas: Dancing in the Dark - The Intelligence of Bees
Pollinator Partnership books including Identification Guide for Bumblebees of the Eastern US.