Saturday, 28 April 2012

The dandelions in and just outside the garden are regularly visted by bees. Occasional honey bees and two solitary bees.
This one appears to be Andrena pubescens

Friday, 27 April 2012

There has been a great increase in the number of Nomada solitary bees in my garden this year. Nomada bees are cleptoparasites because they lay their eggs in the nest cells of other bees. Each nomada species targets a specific bees species. Nomada bees could easily be mistaken for wasps.

This is a Nomada goodeniana.

This one may be a Nomada signata but the picture is not so clear for ID purposes.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Tawny Mining Bee

I noticed this beautiful female tawny mining bee cleaning itself on a leaf of the flowering currant. As aits name suggests, this is a ground nesting solitary bee.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Honey bees and cherry blossom

The garden just across the back entrance track is full of honey and bumble bees pollionating the numerous blossom.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Red mason bees

Red mason bees are very active in our garden today, especially on the rosemary shrub.

I noticed this small bee in a spider web on our window sill. The bee had been caught in the web by its legs, the wings were not entangled.

I used a stick and carefully released the bee. I think it might have been a tawny mining bee, I did not get a good view and photograph not clear enough to be certain.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Mining bees and cuckoo bees

Even more bee activity in the garden. Also outside on the pavement. Just outside our front wall I observed a solitary mining bee Andrena thoracica entering a nest burrow in between the paving stones.

The bee is constructing a nest where it will lay eggs that will develop into next years adults.

You can just see the abdomen as it disappears down into its tunnel.

I also observed the first red mason bee (another solitary species) as it rested on a bucket in the garden.

I also observed this small wasp-like insect which is also a bee. This is one of many types of cuckoo bee which as their name suggests lays there eggs in the nests of other bee species.
The wasp-like cuckoo bees belong to a group called Nomada. This one appears to be Nomada’s lathbriana.
Cuckoo bees tend to parasitise a particular species, this one lays its eggs in the nests of another solitary bee  Andrena cineraria

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Solitary bees

Two more species of solitary bee in our garden. I am still checking the species at the moment - many solitary bees are very hard to identify. They often require exaination of quite small hard to see features and a process of elimination. Some species can only really be identifed by microscopic identification of a dead specimen.

Bee 1

Bee 2

Both bees species were sunning themselves on the leaves of our buddleia. I will update as soon as I have an identification.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Fun in the Greenhouse

Things have been going very well in my green house. the lettuce is well on its way and the green beans have sprouted 2 leaves.
The tomato plants are a bit slow at the moment.

I have also planted a mixture of sunflowers including giant sunflower and multi-headed varieties.
I have also planted some more morning glory as it was so successful last year and the bees loved it. also some viola, nasturtiums and mixed wildflowers. The echinacea plants that I planted from seed last year have started to produce new leaves and I am hoping to have flowers this year.

I try to run my green house as sustainable as possible. many of the seeds are grown in re-used food containers such as stir fry vegetable, or fresh meat (cleaned with hot soapy water).
The markers are lolly sticks and the compost is mixed with reclaimed/sieved compost from last years large plant containers. Some of the water I use is collected rainwater.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Birds and more bees

A red tailed  queen bumble bee has been visiting the garden. Probably looking for a nest site. this bee has an all-black body with a red tail. I also observed a brown carder bee visiting the pulmonaria plant (below).

There has also been a great increase in bird activity over the last few days. The blackbirds are piping out their beautiful flute-like song, not for out ears but to attract a mate and defend a terrritory. Goldfinches still pass through in small groups.

The blue tits are the most vocal of the small birds, especially in the apple tree in our neighbours garden.

However their calls can also be heard from all around, also the 'see-saw' call of the great tit. seen more often than heard at the moment.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

hairy footed bee on flowering currant

I noticed this evening that the hairy footed bee is visiting the flowering currant. In previous years the hairy footed bees have stopped visiting my garden by the time the currant is in flower.
This is probably due to the unseasonal period of sunny weather we have been having
I am pleased, as pulmonaria plant in the back garden has been a bit worn out by the early emergence of buff tailed bumble bees that have visited the pulmonaria. This is usually only visited by the hairy footed bee and the occasional early bumble bee.