Sunday, 25 June 2017

Bee of the week - Yellow-face bee

This tiny bee is not quite 5mm long and is easily overlooked.  It is the common yellow-face bee (Hylaeus communis). These photos are all of females on Phacelia in the garden.

Hylaeus bees are solitary and share the most unusual characteristic of carrying pollen back to their nest holes in their crop rather than on a pollen brush (scopa) on the legs or abdomen.  These bees can be seen "eating" blue pollen from the anthers of Phacelia.  While I was watching they were landing on the flowers and then climbing up the filaments to reach the pollen.

Hylaeus bees nest in small holes in wood, woody stems, etc and I have seen them in my bee house, although I didn't manage a photo. There are 12 Hylaeus species listed Steven Falk's Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland but most are localised or rare.

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