Title Photo

A male Red Mason Bee at Freshwater Bay.

Saturday 23 July 2016

Gypsy Cuckoo Bumblebee.

The Gypsy Cuckoo Bumblebee Bombus bohemicus, parasites the nest of the White-tailed Bumblebee.It is  widespread in the UK but tends to be more common in the north.
BWARS states that; After emerging from hibernation during April the mated female seeks out  a B. lucorum nest containing a few workers.The female enters the nest and hides until it acquires the nest scent.It then kills or dominates the host queen and begins to lay eggs.Only B. bohemicus male and female eggs are hatched although all work in the colony is done by the host workers. 

Friday 17 June 2016

Looking Good in the Rain.

This very dapper male Early Bumblebee was spotted yesterday in my local wood resting on a reed leaf waiting for the rain to stop.

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Bee In Clover.

While on holiday on the Greek Island of Lefkada recently this solitary bee was observed on clover.Being completely ignorant  of bees from Greece I took advice,.and  it is suggested that it may be from the Halictine family or a large Lasioglossum.

Saturday 7 May 2016

On The Lookout.

Along the banks of my local stream  mingled between the bluebells and wild garlic are small patches of bare ground.Dotted here and there are the telltale signs of minute nest holes made by mining bees.Nomad bees can be observed flying around and occasionally landing to perhaps lay an egg in the nest. 
There are  up to thirty species of nomad bee in the UK and they are particularly common in the south of England. The nomad bee pictured is considered to be Nomada flava,the Flavous Nomad.

Tuesday 26 April 2016

A Personal Favourite.

The fabulous Red-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lapidarius, is a particular favourite of mine.It is a common bumblebee and nests in a hole in the ground,sometimes under stones or at the base of a dry stone wall,hence their other common name the Stone Bumblebee.The queen pictured below emerges from hibernation in March.When the similar but much smaller workers hatch from the nest they take over pollen collecting duties while the queen concentrates on laying more eggs.An individual nest can have up to 200 bees and later in the year the males emerge.Only the newly hatched queens survive at the end of the season to hibernate and  create a colony the next spring.

Thursday 21 April 2016

Andrena cineraria.

An unmistakable solitary bee  seen at this time of the year is the Ashy Mining Bee,Andrena cineraria. A common bee in Britain and obvious by its black and ashy-grey markings.The females are black with two broad grey hairbands across the thorax,The males are similar,but the thorax is completely clothed with less dense grey hairs.In addition the male has a noticeable tuft of white hairs on the lower face.
This female pictured below appeared on the front passenger seat of my car and was happy to allow itself to be placed on a suitable leaf.

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Osmia bicornis.

Osmia bicornis or Osmia rufa is commonly known as the Red Mason Bee.This male pictured below clearly shows the gingery (red) hairs which gives this species its name.It is widespread and can be seen from late March to early summer.

Thursday 14 April 2016

Andrena flavipes.

The Yellow-legged Mining Bee,Andrena flavipes is an early spring solitary bee as mentioned in a recent previous post.That post featured a male,however now that pollen rich flowers are available this female  was noticed enjoying the Spanish bluebells Hyacinthoides hispanica.


Tuesday 5 April 2016

Andrena on Spanish Bluebells.

Nectar and pollen may be a bit scarce at this time for spring bees and insects,so a drift of bluebells was a must for this male Andrena solitary bee.

Friday 1 April 2016

Bombylius discolor.

Of course not a bee, but the Dotted Bee-fly Bombylius discolor has a life cycle that is intertwined with that of  the solitary bee.As with the more common Dark-edged  Bee-fly the female scatters her eggs close to the nesting hole of  the solitary bee.The larvae then find their way into the bees burrow where they will develop and finally take to the wing.It is unclear which particular species of bee is used but most probably one of the Andrena species such as Andrena falvipes.
The Dotted Bee-fly has a  very limited distribution in the UK and the Isle of Wight is a stronghold for this species which is classified as Nationally Scarce in Great Britain.


Wednesday 23 March 2016

An Early Spring Bumblebee.

This queen Tree Bumblebee, Bombus hypnorum, was spotted in my local copse today.It is one of the earliest bumblebees to be seen in the spring and can be said to be a 'woodland edge' species.However in the UK,where it has been resident since 2001,this bee likes to make use of nestboxes as well as tree holes,in which to create a nesting colony.

Tuesday 22 March 2016

The Yellow-legged Mining Bee.

A common spring solitary bee is Andrena flavipes or the Yellow-legged Mining Bee.It is numerous in Southern England and I came across several individuals yesterday on south facing chalk cliffs. 
Andrena flavipes nests are constructed in the ground, and are often found in dense aggregations in suitable,exposed banks and cliffs, tended lawns, flower beds, roadside verges and in sparsely vegetated field margins.
In most areas where the bee is found, this Yellow-legged Mining Bee plays host to the cuckoo bee Nomada fucata.