getting buzzy ’bout bees too

We’ve been getting pretty buzzy ’bout bees too!  The super-dude picked up a postcard that identifies the ‘Bees of Kew’.  Using this (and the internet) we tried to identify some of the various bees we’ve been spotting up at the allotment.  Who knew there were so many bees about!

CIMG6837-RedTailBumble-Bombus lapidarius-copy

Red Tail Bumblebee on Vinca (Bombus lapidarius) (Photo by G, April 2020)

This photo shows what we think is a worker Red Tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius). 

This worker was a big handsome chap, mainly black bodied with a bit of a red tail. He’s gorging on nectar with his face pushed right into the centre of the flower, which pushed his arms and antennae outwards.

Super-G watched this super-bee gather nectar, and mentioned it was a highly methodical process – moving from flower to flower in straight efficient lines, with no wandering or buzzing aimlessly about.  Systematic.  Targeted.  Logical.  Just like a Ford assembly line.

The bees seem to love the massive patch of flowering vinca that lies at the bottom of the yellow plum tree on H’s patch.  As do butterflies and other flying pollinators.  The photo below shows a small portion of the vinca patch (aka blue periwinkle).

CIMG6844VincaMinorSmall BluePeriwinkle

Vinca patch.  April 2020.  (Photo by G)

CIMG6842-TreeBumblebee-Bombus hypnorum

Tree Bumblebee.  (Photo by G, April 2020)

In another patch we spotted this super fuzzy bee. It is, we think, a Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hyponorum). I love the detail in this photo of the bee’s wing structure.  You can also see the tiny hairs on the underside of the nettle leaves that surround it.

Despite the name ‘Tree’ Bumblebee, this little guy was spotted rooting around on the open ground.

Speaking of names, this particular bee was particularly bumbling!   At one point it grabbed onto a pink flower petal, but the flower petal had fallen and was no longer attached to the plant.  The bee then tumbled down the hill, rolling down all the while holding onto the pink petal.  Quite an amusing sight to behold.

A third type of bee is the beautiful Vestal Cuckoo Bumblebee, which G captured on our white flowering borage.  What a beauty!


Vestal Cuckoo Bumblebee. (Photo by G).

We’ve seen other bees too – smaller bodied bees that almost look like wasps.  These I think are wild honey bees.

As we photo the bees we see, we’ll continue to try to identify the varieties.  And I guess that’s just the start as there’s much to learn about each variety – what their habitat needs are, variations in their lifecycles and roles (queens, drones, worker bees) and so on and so forth.

The good news? Apparently there’s no end to it!!  Who would have guessed that there are over 250 different types of bees in the UK?

There’s tons of other flying marvels to consider – like the fuzzy hovercraft we saw zooming around above the celandine yesterday.  Love celandine!  So cheerful, low growing with rosettes of glossy green leaves crowned with bright yellow flowers.  A real ‘must-have’ in any wildlife friendly garden.

What a buzz!

PS: If you want to see even more photos, check out Super-G’s B-Gallery.

About smallPaws

A tumbleweed from Canada who's been living in London for twenty or so years.
This entry was posted in allotment journal, diary, wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

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