A Western Bee-fly in my garden in Exeter

Yesterday in the warm sunshine I came across a very small bee-fly in my garden. I have regularly seen the larger Dark-edged Bee-fly (Bombylius major) but I have never seen a Western Bee-fly (Bombylius canescens) in the garden before. If I want to see one of these I normally go to Hembury Woods on Dartmoor.

Distinctive bee-fly with its long proboscis – the animal was around 8mm long

Feeding on Germander Speedwell flowers – gives a good indication of the size of the bee-fly

The dark core with the lighter fringing hairs is distinctive.

As you can see from this distribution map (courtesy of the NBN) it is not a common animal

At Hembury Woods with a western bee fly

I spent an hour or so over at Hembury Woods in the baking sun yesterday – I had hoped to see a high brown fritillary but no luck there (it is very early in the season for them but they have already been recorded on Dartmoor this year) – instead IĀ found a few other nice insects. The highlight for me was the Western Bee Fly which is very localised nationally.

Bombylius cansescens 1
The Western Bee Fly Bombylius canescens

Bombylius cansescens 2
The characteristic long ‘nose’ which enables it to feed inside long flowers

bombylius canescansThe UK distribution of Western Bee Fly – it has a designation of ‘Nationally Notable’ on account of its rarity

Tiger beetleHembury is also home to a strong population of tiger beetles – one of my favourites!

Cicindela camprestris
Tiger beetles – Cicindela campestris – are well distibuted across the UK but need warm and sandy soiled places

Strangalia melanura
Finally I found this long horn beetle Strangalia melanura

Strangalia melanura
Relatively common beetle in southern Britain but quite uncommon in Devon and Dartmoor

All maps are courtesy of the National Biodiversity Network