Bees are a tricky subject, like a lot of insects many of the species don’t have common names so your going to need to brush off your Latin. There are a lot of species of bee found in London and the UK. My Collins guide says there are 6 different species of Bumble-bee alone, all of which may be seen in our capital. Really to make a definitive decision on what bee you are looking at it needs to be caught and examined but that is not something I want to do. Bees are a crucial part in our ecosystem and their relationship to our life is an extensive subject on which many books and films have been written and made. The decrease in bee numbers is well documented and a worry. I heard on Radio 4 ‘Farming Today’ recently that most commercially grown British tomatoes, grown in wind tunnels are pollinated by bees imported from Belgium which demonstrates part of their importance. The Honey Bee in this picture came from a hive that in Essex and were collecting nectar from a lavender bush near by. They may be confused with the Andrena species but can be identified by the cells that make up the wing. This is how most bees are catergorised along with the tongue. I haven’t been able to identify the cells on the wing but the proximity to the hive makes me almost certain it was a Honey Bees. Most bees can be distinguished from wasps by the hairiness of their legs and body and they use their sting only in defense. There are around 250 species of bee in Britain of which most are solitary apart from Bumble and Honey Bees.