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.

 

Garden comes alive

For the last few weeks spring has been unfolding at a steady pace, today my garden has burst into life. There are butterflies, solitary bees, bumblebees, hoverflies, beetles and bugs everywhere. I even surprised a grass snake on the lawn which promptly slid off into the undergrowth. I’m sure who was most startled ….. I have managed to photograph a few species.

Red-headed Cardinal Beetle
This is a red-headed Cardinal beetle (Pyrochroa serraticornis)

Dryophilocoris flavoquadrimaculatusThis is a capsid or mired bug called Dryophilocoris flavoquadrimaculatus

Green-veined White-2A green-veined white feeding on a Geranium

Criorhina floccosaThis splendid beast is a hoverfly which is mimicking a common carder bumblebee – it is called Criorhina floccosa

Criorhina floccosa - mapI have never seen this species before and it is rather a scarce species usually associated with woodland – the huge protected oaks in my garden might have helped lure it in.

Bug

Finally I found this and to be honest I don’t know what it is – any ideas anyone?