Conops quadrifasciatus- Garden

A long proboscis and a long pointed anal cell near the hind edge of the wing are features that characterise this family. Hind femora of this species are yellowish brown, and the female has a small yellowish pouch under the 5th abdominal segment.
On umbellifers and composites such as Ragwort, especially in drier areas.
When to see it
June to September.
Life History
Larvae are internal parasites of bumblebees.
UK Status
Local and infrequent in Britain.

Macropis europaea (Yellow-loosestrife bee)

This medium-sized bee has a shiny black body with white hair bands on the apical tergites, two submarginal cells and very characteristic hind legs in both sexes. Those of the female have an entirely white-haired hind tibia that contrasts with the very broadened, black-haired basitarsus. The male hind legs are less hairy but very swollen. Males have yellow faces.

M. europaea is a wetland specialist usually found in fen, open carr, reedbeds, ditches and water margins where its pollen source, Yellow Loosestrife, is present. It collects both the pollen and floral oils of this plant, and uses the oils to waterproof its nests, which are often constructed along paths and banks that become seasonally flooded. It will also visit a variety of other flowers growing in and around wetlands for nectar e.g. thistles, bramble and bird’s-foot trefoils. Adults fly from July until early September.

Records are almost entirely confined to south-east England from Dorset to Norfolk.

Banded General – Stratiomys potamida-Garden

One of the ‘big five’ soldierflies (4 Stratiomys species plus Odontomyia ornata). Easily distinguished from O. ornata by the long antennae. It is one of two boldy marked yellow and black Stratiomys species with pale tibiae and an extensively yellow underside to the abdomen. The other species is S. chamaeleon which has a pair of broad, wedge-shaped yellow spots on the sides of tergite 3 and and the yellow mark of the scutellum with an angular fore margin (the best field clue as the folded wings can obscure the abdominal markings).

This is our most widespread Stratiomys and certainly the most frequent inland, though is nevertheless localised and scarce in most districts. It is associated with a variety of non-brackish wetland types, especially seepage-fed marsh, the margins of waterbodies, fens, wet meadows, ditches, the wet parts of woods; also occasionally the perched pools of soft-rock cliffs or landward side of grazing marsh (which can occasionally result in the presence of three Stratiomys species at one site!). Most sites are characterised by good water-quality.

Stelis phaeoptera-Garden -Rare

I have seen about three of these in my garden I am assuming that they are using the many Osmia leaiana as hosts.


Description and notes
Since recording began this has always been considered a rare cleptoparasitic bee, but during this century it has decreased alarmingly.

Formerly widely distributed in England, mainly south of a line extending from the Severn to the Wash, with additional records from Monmouthshire (Hallett, 1956). Recent records are only from a few scattered localities in England (especially in Devon) and south Wales. The reason for the decline is unknown. In Europe, the species is found from southern Finland to Greece, and into Asia It also occurs in North Africa (Morocco).
Status (in Britain only)
Listed as Rare (RDB3) by Shirt (1987). Provisionally listed as Vulnerable (pRDB2) by Falk (1991). Owing to the paucity of recent records, the status should be reviewed.
Many of the modern Devon records are of bees flying about or alighting on cob walls, these perhaps containing the nest burrows of its host species (megachiline bees).
Flight period
Univoltine; from late May to mid August (rarely September).
Nesting biology
The host species of this Stelis have not been confirmed for Britain. Jones (1932) removed a female S. phaeoptera from a nest burrow of Osmia leaiana at Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire. However, other megachiline species may also be hosts of this cleptoparasite in Britain.
Flowers visited
Bird’s-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), field scabious (Knautia arvensis), hawkweed (Hieracium sp.), spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare) and speedwell (Veronica sp.).


Hylaeus brevicornis – Garden

A common species found throughout much of lowland Britain from Kent to the Isles of Scilly, and northwards to Kirkcudbrightshire. There are remarkably few records from Wales, where the species may be under-recorded. Also known from the Isle of Man, Scilly and the Channel Islands. In Ireland it is widely distributed, mainly in the eastern and southern counties. Widely distributed throughout much of Europe, north Africa (see distribution map in Koster (1986a)), the Middle East, the Caucasus, Iran and in Japan (as H. perforator).
Status (in Britain only)
This species is not regarded as being scarce or threatened.
Found in woodland, fenland, calcareous grassland, heathland and on the coast.
Flight period
Late May to mid-September. In France this bee is reported to have two or three generations a year (Janvier, 1972), and the same may occur in the British Isles, at least in the southern part of its range.
Nesting biology
Specimens have been reared several times from dead bramble (Rubus) stem-nests (Danks, 1971; G R Else, pers. obs.). The nesting habits, nests and prepupae have been described in detail by Danks (1971).
Flowers visited
These include bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.), sea-holly (Eryngium maritimum), wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa), hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium), wild carrot (Daucus carota), sea spurge (Euphorbia paralias), bog pimpernel (Anagallis tenella), thyme (Thymus sp.), sheep’s-bit (Jasione montana), ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense) and beaked hawk’s-beard (Crepis vesicaria).
The ichneumonid wasp Hoplocyrtus bellosus (as H. signatorius) and a eurytomid wasp in the genus Eurytoma have been reared from nests of this bee (Danks, 1971). The first species was also reared from stem-nests of this bee by Field & Foster (1988), though it was erroneously cited by them as Perithous divinator.