You may think there are only a few species of bee in Britain – honey bees and a few bumblebee? Well actually you would be wrong there are in fact 275 species of bee in the country. Yesterday I found, managed to identify and photograph the Hairy-footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes). It is one of the first species to emerge into the spring – the males can emerge as early as late February.
This is a male with its ginger hairs (the females are black) – you can also clearly see his hairy feet along with the long hairs along the segments of his mid tarsi. He is feeding on a Lesser Celandine flower.
They make their nests in walls, chimneys and quarry faces. The species is reasonable common in southern England but appears to be restricted to the south coastal area of Devon.
Distribution map of Anthophora plumipes courtesy of the National Biodiversity Network
I found this male in my garden in Exeter. This is the first time I have been able to use my new and excellent Field Guide to the Bees of Britain and Ireland (which I wrote about last November – see here). This book is of course the reason I was able to identify the species and tell you about its ecology!