Wednesday, 25 May 2016

The bee tree

Being a solitary bee must be an exhausting business.  The male bees spend most of their short lives flying around looking for a mate.  The female bees make countless foraging trips to collect nectar and pollen to provision their nests. It's not surprising then that they occasionally take a short rest.

On my latest visit to the Spetchells at Prudhoe I noticed a sycamore at the side of the chalk that was almost the only tree in full leaf.  The leaves gave a perfect platform for the bees to take a quick break.  The tree was also surrounded by flying male bees searching for females.  

Here are a few of the female mining bees I saw on the tree.  I know the names of some of them.  This is an orange-tailed mining bee (Andrena haemorrhoa).

A tawny mining bee (Andrena fulva). 

A buffish mining bee (Andrena nigroaenea).

Possibly a Halictus bee (correction, Louise tells me it is a lasioglossum).

And here are a few males, probably all Andrena mining bees..

This is a male ashy mining bee (Andrena cineraria).  There were also females around but none stopped on the tree while I was watching.

I also noticed these two nomad bees.  Judging by the number of segments in the antennae I think both are male. Nomads are cuckoo bees so the females have less work to do - they spend their time searching for unguarded mining bee nests in which to lay their eggs, perhaps explaining why so few stopped for a rest on the tree.  I think this one is Nomada goodeniana.

And this might be Nomada marshamella.

There were a few other bees, including some very small ones, that didn't stop long enough to have their photos taken. I'll be back there soon for another look.

No comments:

Post a Comment