Hylaeus pictipes – allotment

A new species for me this bee is 4mm in size so often overlooked.

Hylaeus pictipes male

Status (in Britain only)
Not listed in Shirt (1987). Falk (1991) lists this bee as a Notable A species, now known as Nationally Scarce (Na).

Habitat
Open woodland, fens, coastal dunes and shingle, and occasionally urban gardens.

Flight period
Univoltine; mid June to late August.

Pollen collected
Polylectic, foraging from species in the families Apiaceae, Asteraceae, Boraginaceae, Campanulaceae, Liliaceae, Resedaceae and Rosaceae (Westrich 1989).

Nesting biology
Nests have been found in burrows in bramble (Rubus) and rose (Rosa) stems. Others were located in the vacated burrows of Anobium punctatum in dead gorse stems in Kent (pers. obs.).

Flowers visited
Bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.), a cabbage (Brassica sp.), a crane’s-bill (Geranium sp.), hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium), a mignonette (Reseda sp.) and sheep’s-bit (Jasione montana).

Parasites
The chalcid wasp Coelopencyrtus arenarius has been reared from nests in dead gorse stems collected by G H L Dicker at Dungeness, East Kent…. BWARS

Pollinator corridors

Bees and other pollinators are disappearing from our countryside because of a lack of wildflower-rich habitats. Three million hectares, 97%, of the UK’s wildflower-rich grasslands have been lost since the 1930s. Creating pollinator habitats along B-Lines will help wildlife move across our countryside, saving threatened species and making sure that there are plenty of pollinators out there to help us grow crops and pollinate wildflowers.

Catherine Jones from Buglife said “B-Lines provide an exciting opportunity for everyone to support our struggling insect pollinators. By working together to create a network of wildflower-rich habitats, we can support healthy populations of bees and other pollinators enabling them respond to threats such as climate change.”

You can help by creating your own pollinator garden and adding your pollinator project onto the master map to show how we’re all coming together to create national wildlife corridors and B-Lines. Read more at https://www.buglife.org.uk/our-work/b-lines/

Book Recommendation

If you are just starting your interest in bees and want an good book to teach you the basics then I would recommend this book. It has a general overview of all UK bees and will help you to learn how to tell one genus from another.

The Rivals

Spot

I have two male Anthidium manicatum (wool carder bees who are very territorial fighting over the same patch of Lambs ears. One is Spot above with the usual UK markings (spots on the abdomen) and Stripes below who has the more european markings (stripes on the abdomen)

Entomology tales of woe II

So after my last description of how it is in the field while out recording. Yesterday I treated myself went out to Kings forest, its not in my county but has a different selection of hymenoptera due to its habitat/soil type.

I jumped out my van, camera around my neck, net in hand and kit bag on my back. Within a few minutes I was seeing bees a couple that I could not ID so took a specimen put it in a tube and against my usual routine (which is empty in my left pocket full in my right leg pocket ) I put it back in my left pocket. A few meters down I saw another that could not be ID’d so took the specimen, now I have my net in one hand and these tubes have a tiny plastic lid which when it’s hot and your fingers are sweaty they are hard to get out so I use my teeth. So I did as usual but this time felt a sharp pain, it was the tube with the first bee in, it stung me on my bottom lip within a few minutes to started to swell and tingle. I thought I was going to end up looking like Bubba of Forrest Gump.. But like most solitary bee stings they are very weak and it soon went down and the tingling stopped…

It was so hot yesterday, it’s so easy to get so focused on looking for that new bee Hoplitis adunca along miles of Vipers Bugloss which is its main food source , that you soon become dehydrated. I didn’t find it but will always look for what’s not there.

Nysson dimidiatus – Kings forest

Nysson dimidiatus

Description and notes
A small red and black wasp which is a cleptoparasite of the similar looking Harpactus tumidus (Panzer), occurring in the same sparsely-vegetated sandy areas as its host.

Status (in Britain only)
Listed as Notable B by Falk (1991) (now known as Scarce (Nb)). Very scarce in most districts and considerably less frequent than its host, though both are small and easily overlooked. It has never been regarded as common in the past.

Habitat
Recorded from heathland, coastal dunes, coastal land slips, open areas in woodland, sandpits, embankments and occasionally gardens. Like its host, it favours sparsely-vegetated or short-cropped areas on dry sandy or clayey soils fully exposed to the sun. It is usually observed running rapidly over such ground or low vegetation during sunny weather, and can be captured by persistently sweeping such areas.

Flight period
Univoltine; June to September, with males emerging before females.

Nesting biology
A cleptoparasite of Harpactus tumidus, and usually obviously occurring alongside that species. The apparent absence of H. tumidus from some sites has led to suggestions that Lindenius albilabris (Fabricius) may be a secondary host.

Flowers visited
Umbellifers such as hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) and wild carrot (Daucus carota).