Title Photo

A male Red Mason Bee at Freshwater Bay.

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.