The web of life – badgers, bees and bee-flies

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 …..

2 Solitary Bees – the cleptoparasite and the hunted

 

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.

A day of four seasons and still wildlife flourishes

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.