So here is a badger foraging in my garden
It digs holes and scrapes in its search for food
And then …. a Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena fulva) excavates her nest in one of the badger scrapes – the entrance looks like a little volcano.
And this is the female Tawny Mining Bee who excavated this nest
And here she is emerging from her nest
Lurking nearby is the Dark Bordered Bee-fly (Bombylious major) which is a parasitoid i.e. it lays it egg in the burrow of the Tawny Mining Bee (and other species) – its larvae then eat the larvae of the bee
Also lurking in the nearby flower bed is Gooden’s Nomad Bee (Nomada goodeniana) – another parasitoid species, but this a bee not a fly and fortunately for the Tawny Mining Bee it lays its eggs in the nests of other Mining Bee species
And all of this happening in my back garden in Exeter over the past couple of weeks …..
29 degrees in the garden this afternoon and surprisingly not many insects on the wing
The commonest species by far is the honey bee
The Early Bumblebee (Bombus pratorum) is a common species in our countryside and gardens.
Distinctive yellow, black and red markings make this an easy species to identify.
Off to the next flower.
Found this bee in the garden this morning.
It is a female Orange-legged Furrow Bee Halictus rubicundus
A common species in southern Britain.
I photographed a couple of bees in my garden a couple of days ago. Such bees are pretty difficult to identify so I may have misidentified them.
I think this is the Chocolate Mining Bee Andrena scotica
They excavate nests in soil where they lay their eggs
I think this is the Flavous Nomad Bee Nomada flava (a female)
And this is a male – they are kleptoparasites which means they lay their eggs in the nests of other bees – the grub then eats the egg or grub of the other bee and feeds on the nest’s food stores.
If my ID is correct the Flavous Nomad Bee parasitises the Chocolate Mining Bee.
The sunshine yesterday brought out some members of the bee and wasp family.
This is, I think, a Honeysuckle Sawfly (Zaraea lonicerae) – not a fly but a type wasp!
And this is a Hairy-footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes) – a type of solitary bee.
Amazing day’s weather in Exeter yesterday – it seemed like all four seasons had been wrapped into one day. Heavy rain, hail, 18 degree sunshine and wind. During the sunny bits it seemed like spring had arrived – I saw my first bee flies of the year along with hoverflies, a peacock butterflies and the solitary bee – the Hairy-footed Flower Bee.
This is the Dark-edged Bee-fly (Bombylius major) – the most common of the bee flies in the UK
(it is a fly not a bee)
It has a very interesting life cycle which I have written about before – see here – it only flies when temperatures are above 17 degrees.This is the Drone Fly (Eristalis tenax) – a hover fly which is mimicking a honey bee. Hoverflies cannot sting but work on the assumption that you think they can!
Another shot – feeding on a Lesser Celandine – note the single pair of wings and the large compound eyes which distinguish flies from bees
This is the first Solitary Bee of the year to emerge – Hairy-footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes) – this is a male – they emerge several weeks before the females – note the hairy feet!
Lovely yellow hairs on his face
If you have got a garden it is possible/probable that all of these species will be living in it – on a sunny day have a look to see who you are sharing your garden with.