Title Photo

A male Red Mason Bee at Freshwater Bay.

Sunday 30 April 2017

Oil Beetles.

These large flightless beetles are dependent on the solitary bee to complete its lifecycle.The female will dig a nesting burrow close to a bee colony.The hatched larvae known as tringulins, will then climb up to reach flowers where their hook- like forelegs enable the larvae to attach themselves to visiting bees.The aim is to be taken by the bee to its nesting burrow where it feeds on the bees' egg and pollen store.Finally it pupates in the burrow over the winter and emerges as an adult beetle the following year.
Meloe proscarabaeus  or the Oil Beetle as it is commonly known gets this name by releasing a pungent oily liquid in defence when threatened.It is suffering a steady decline in population and is currently a BAP species(Biodiversity Action Plan).The female beetle is larger than the male and the following photo shows the difference in size of the sexes.

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Nomada goodeniana.

On a sunny patch of bare ground  at the foot of a conifer in my local forest I found several nomad bees busily searching for solitary bee holes in which to lay their eggs.The nomad bee pictured below had just reappeared from under a pine cone where no doubt one such nest was located.This species of nomad bee is Nomada goodeniana seen mainly from April to June.It is a widespread cuckoo bee in the UK and preys on nests of the Andrena nigroaenea- group.It is one of the largest of our Nomada species.

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Bees Out in the Spring Sunshine.

We enjoyed spring like weather on Monday with temperatures above the average for this time of year.Consequently all types of insects responded to the warmth and I was pleased to see my first Bee-fly of the year.The Dark-edged Bee-fly or Large Bee-fly (Bombylius major) is common here and mimics a small bumblebee.
Queen bumblebees are also out and about with this Buff-tailed Bumblebee carrying a group of mites in need of a new home.Mites are normally harmless to the bee as they feed on wax,pollen,debris and small insects found in the formers nest.