Title Photo

A male Red Mason Bee at Freshwater Bay.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Late Visitors.

The last couple of days of November were mild and sunny on the Island and it brought out the bees to feed on the mahonia which is flowering in our garden.This queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee,Bombus terrestris, is a late in the year visitor.
Another bee enjoying my mahoina was the Honeybee,Apis mellifera. Our native honeybee is active all the year round as the workers ensure that enough pollen is collected to provide honey in the hive for the colony to sustain it through the winter.Of course when conditions are suitable and flowers available the bee will collect more pollen at any time.

Friday 31 October 2014

Colletes hederae.

The Ivy Bee is a very recent arrival in the UK.The first report of this bee was in 2001 and since then it has spread along the south coast of England and north to Wales and towards the Midlands.
As the name suggests this species likes the pollen of the ivy and consequently it is seen in September and October when the ivy is in flower
Today I spent a very pleasant time watching these bees coming and going from their burrows that are excavated into the soft cliffs.There must have been hundreds of small holes at this site, situated on south facing cliffs near to Wheelers Bay at Bonchurch.

Wednesday 1 October 2014

The Male Lasioglossum leucozonium.

This rather worn male Lasioglossum leucozonium is seen feeding on Devil's-bit Scabious. The males appear from July onwards although the females are seen as early as mid-March.
It is a common and widespread species found in England and Wales on mainly sandy and calcareous soils

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Devil's-bit Scabious.

Now that the Common Fleabane is as good as over in my local copse,insects and in particular bees are all over the Devil's-bit Scabious flowers.This common plant prefers damp woodland.The flowers are violet,sometimes white and unlike those of the Field and Small Scabious the outer flowers are not noticeably bigger than the inner ones.

Friday 5 September 2014

Lasioglossum leucozonium.

This small solitary mining bee is widespread in England.They are particularly attracted to yellow flowers as in the following photos where they are feeding on Common Fleabane.However thistles and other plants are frequented.
This species is found mainly in sandy and calcareous areas and the nest is dug by the female in light soil. Although a solitary bee females have been known to construct their nests in the same burrows.

Wednesday 3 September 2014

In my Local Copse.

The warm and sunny weather returned today and many insects were enjoying the drifts of Common Fleabane,Pulicara dysenterica, that are now covering the open paths of my local copse.
The Honeybee,Apis mellifera,in particular, is fond of fleabane and they were out in force collecting 'basket fulls' of pollen.Known as the Western or European Honeybee it is our only native honeybee species.
Several  bumblebee species were also out and about including the Red-tailed Bumblebee on Field Scabious and Thistle.The following photographs show a male Red-tailed,Bombus lapidarius.

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Bombus Pascuorom

The Common Carder Bee is one of our most common bees and can be seen from spring until November in all types of habitat.
The French Lavender flowers in my garden are proving very popular for this species at the moment.

Thursday 7 August 2014

White-tailed Bumblebee.

Today I came across  several male White-tailed Bumblebees feeding on giant thistles in my local copse.
The White-tailed Bumblebee,Bombus lucorum,is a common and widespread species.The hibernating queens emerge in the spring and start a colony by laying a few eggs.These hatch into workers and later in the season the males and new females appear.Once mated the prospective queens will hibernate over the winter while the males die, together with the old queens in the autumn
The male can be identified by the yellow hair on the head and extra tufts on yellow hair on the thorax and abdomen.


Friday 1 August 2014

Leaf-cutter Bee.

The Leaf-cutter Bee,Megachile, nests in dead wood,holes in plant stems,cliffs,and old walls.They cut out discs of leaves,particularly from roses,and glue them together using saliva to build cells in which their larvae live
The Leaf-cutter Bee can be seen from late spring to August and feeds solely on pollen and nectar.
This bee could be mistaken for a Honey Bee although the underside of the abdomen is orange.There are seven extant species of leaf-cutter bee in the UK which are very difficult to tell apart.It is a common species in the south of England.
The male does not collect pollen and the following photos are of a female.They collect pollen in pollen baskets that are situated on the underside of the abdomen.



Friday 20 June 2014

The Bee Orchid.

This beautiful orchid is now to be seen in our woods and copse.Bee orchids (Ophrys apifera) are easily identifiable by their eye-catching flowers, which are present during June and July. The attractive flowers mimic an insect feeding on a flower – with a furry lip that looks like the body of a bee, 2 sepals (the outermost parts of a flower) that look like antennae and another 3 outer sepals that resemble large pink petals.
As a result of this deception and an attractive scent, male bees try to mate with the lip of the flower (known as pseudocopulation). This mimicry has been favoured by natural selection because the bees unwittingly bring about pollination of the orchids by transferring pollen to the female parts of the next flower they visit.
Bee orchids don’t depend on bees to reproduce, however, and in Britain they are generally self-pollinated. But the closely related fly orchid (Ophrys insectifera), early spider orchid (Ophrys sphegodes) and late spider orchid (Ophrys fuciflora) are reliant on their insect pollinators and also lure them with fake signals.

Saturday 14 June 2014

The Cuckoo Bumblebees.

Of the six Cuckoo Bumblebees found in the UK three have been recorded on the Isle of Wight.
One of these three is the Vestal Cuckoo or Southern Cuckoo Bumblebee,Bombus vestalis.This species is known to parasitise the nests of the Buff-tailed Bumblebee,Bombus terrestris.
Both males and females can be identified by the narrow yellow patches at the base of the white tail.

Monday 9 June 2014

The Ashy Mining Bee.

At the moment the 'Wedding Cake Bush' in the garden is in full flower and attracting several species of bee.One such species is the Ashy Mining Bee,Andrena cineraria, which is common in the UK.It is a ground nesting bee preferring short turf and lawns.It can be seen from April to the middle of June.
The following photos show a female as the males thorax is completely covered in white hairs.

Sunday 25 May 2014

The Red Mason Bee.

The Red Mason Bee is a small common bee which nests in hollow plant stems,in holes in cliffs and crumbling mortar of old buildings.It is a solitary bee so after mating each female builds its own nest.
It is widespread in England and is on the wing from late March to early summer. Osmia rufa is a very efficient pollinator and feeds solely on pollen and nectar.
This species can be identified by the two horn-like processes on the front of the face as shown in this female below.