A few of the bees seen on Fleam dyke this morning , many of the Andrena nigroaenea were stylopsed , ID’s in individual photos
Often seen on the catkins and flowers that attract solitary spring breeding bees which they are thought to parasitize.
When to see it
Myopa species may emerge as early as April.
Suspected of parasitizing spring breeding solitary bees.
One of the socially parasitic bumblebees formerly placed in the genus Psithyrus, which is now regarded as a sub-genus of Bombus. It is known to parasitise the nests of Bombus terrestris. The general distribution is more southerly than that of its look-alike, Bombus bohemicus, which matches the situation in the known hosts of these two species (B. lucorum is the host of B. bohemicus). This may be a species which is showing signs of distribution change due to climatic change. In view of the northward extension of distribution of several bumblebee species it will be interesting to see whether B. vestalis has also extended its range northwards. Both males and females can be suspected by the narrow yellow patches at the base of the white tail. These patches are generally more intense and extensive than in B. bohemicus, however, microscopic examination will be required to reliably separate the two species…BWARS
Highlight of my day
Distributed predominantly in southern England and south Wales, the range being closely correlated with chalk and limestone soils. This is a predominantly central European species, becoming rare and sporadic north of Belgium. The Palaearctic range extends from southern Finland (one record only (Elfving, 1968)) to Spain, and east to the former Yugoslavia and Romania. Stoeckhert (1933) records the species from central Asia and reports that both there and in southern Europe it is largely restricted to montane sites.
Status (in Britain only)
Classified as a Nationally Notable (Nb) species by Falk (1991).
Generally calcareous grassland and open deciduous woodland on chalk and limestone soils.
Univoltine; April to early July. The males are very short-lived in comparison with the females.
Females establish their nests in empty snail shells, including those of Helix pomatia, Cepaea nemoralis, C. hortensis and Monacha cantiana. Nests contain about four or five cells, depending on the size of shell used. Cell partitions and the closing plug consist of leaf mastic (i.e. masticated portions of green leaf). The space between the last cell partition and the closing plug is filled with a rubble containing very small snail shells and pieces of chalk, or soil. When the nest is completed the female covers the shell with a mound of dead grass stems, beech scales or leaf fragments (Perkins, 1884, 1891; G R Else, pers. obs.). The reason for this behaviour is not known, but it may camouflage the nest from possible parasites and predators at a time when it may be vulnerable to such attack. Nests are illustrated by Geiser (1988) and Westrich (1989). Males have been found sheltering in empty snail shells during periods of inclement weather (G R Else, pers. obs.).
Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa), bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), heath dog-violet (Viola canina), bird’s-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), horseshoe vetch (Hippocrepis comosa), sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia), sallow (Salix spp.), ground-ivy (Glechoma hederacea), daisy (Bellis perennis) and dandelion (Taraxacum sp.)….BWARS
Today’s outing a couple of hours on Cambridges Chalky side.
The massive earthwork monument known as Fleam Dyke consists of a 7-8m high bank and ditched barrier which ran for 5km from Balsham to Fulbourn. Possible extensions to it occur at both the south and north ends, and a further part of it might exist from Quy Fen to the River Cam at Fen Ditton. The main part of Fleam survives today as a footpath and parish boundary, but historically the northern part was also the boundary between Flendish and Staine Hundreds. The Moot for these Hundreds was at Mutlow Hill, a Bronze Age barrow which had clearly been an important landmark for many centuries before its use as an Anglo-Saxon meeting place. Apart from the 4,000 year old cremated burials for which it was originally built, rare third century BC Greek coins have been found close to the burial mound. It was reused in Roman times for a temple, and it is no accident that Fleam Dyke passes right beside it. Mutlow rests on the top of a hill, and overlooks the junction of several routeways (including the Icknield Way) where they meet and cross Fleam Dyke.
The highlight is the Osmia Bicolor male ,, but i must find the beautifully coloured female.