Archive for “mining bees”

Spring in the meadow

Posted in garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , on 25 March 2017 by bramblejungle

OK, it’s not really a meadow – just a bit of grass that only gets mown twice a year, and contains mostly weeds wildflowers (yellow rattle, corncockle, marjoram, hawkbit…). As soon as things start to warm up the Tawny Mining Bees appear

Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena fulva)

(males usually emerge before females, but they are harder to spot) Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena fulva), m
along with predatory cuckoo bees
Cuckoo bee (Nomada sp.)

and bee-flies

Bee-fly (Bombylius major)

As in previous years I’m hoping for other solitary bees later, and if there’s anything to report I’ll send the info to the solitary bee project.

A good year for solitary bees?

Posted in garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, wildlife with tags , , , , on 29 April 2015 by bramblejungle

Well, so far anyway. The Tawny mining bees (Andrena fulva) Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena fulva) emerged from the lawn, creating the usual mini-volcanoes, a couple of weeks ago, and they have now been joined by Red mason bees (Osmia bicornis), Red mason bee (Osmia bicornis) Early mining bees (Andrena haemorrhoa), [update – I gather this is A. nitida not A. haemorrhoa] Mining bee (Andrena haemorrhoa?) Chocolate mining bees (Andrena carantonica), Mining bee - Andrena carantonica Grey mining bees (Andrena cineraria), Grey mining bee (Andrena cineraria) and others that I can’t identify.

On schedule

Posted in "Butts Piece", garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, wildlife with tags , , , , , on 14 April 2015 by bramblejungle

This is looking like a “normal” Spring (if there is such a thing), with chiffchaffs, blackthorn blossom and tawny mining bees all appearing as usual.
Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)

Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena fulva)

Over-wintering butterflies have emerged

Spring!

but there have been a couple of surprises:  Small White butterflies usually appear in May, but quite a few are already in evidence
Small White (Pieris rapae)
and Red Admirals don’t usually over-winter here, but migrate to the UK in significant numbers from May onwards. This one was spotted on 9 April.
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

More mining bees

Posted in garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , on 2 May 2011 by bramblejungle

In past years I’ve found tawny mining bees (Andrena fulva) in the lawn. This year they are back (as are the holes in the lawn).
Spring!
but they are not alone. Another mining bee, Andrena cineraria, is here:
Andrena cineraria?
Like A. fulva, these are harmless – and beneficial as crop pollinators.
Near the nests I’ve also seen Nomada sp. “cuckoo bees”:
Nomada sp.
Like cuckoos, these lay their eggs in the nests of other species – mining bees. Their larvae feed on the pollen stored for the mining bees’ larvae, and then the mining bee larvae themselves. Nature can be brutal, but somehow the miners survive, presumably by breeding faster than the Nomadas can predate them.

Bugs, bees – and snails

Posted in garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , , on 25 April 2010 by bramblejungle

A warm weekend saw large numbers of hoverfiles and solitary bees; then it rained, and hundreds of tiny snails emerged to take their part in the food chain (for hedgehogs and song-thrushes, I hope):
Cuckoo bee
Nettle bug (Liocoris tripustulatus )
Red mason bee (Osmia rufa)
Snail
Girdled snail (Hygromia cinctella)
Snail

Bees and lawn aeration

Posted in garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, wildlife with tags , , , on 10 April 2009 by bramblejungle

I found quite a few of these in the garden a day or two ago:

Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena fulva)

It turned out they are a solitary bee – the Tawny Mining Bee, Andrena fulva – which explained the half-dozen or so mini-volcanoes in the lawn

Bee's nest

It seems Andrena fulva are completely harmless; in fact they aerate the lawn and pollenate everything in sight, so they are very welcome here. There’s a good article about them at kendall-bioresearch.co.uk.

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