Still going strong

The hornets nest is still going strong and there is much more noise coming out of the colony


Andrena scotica – out of season

Today I found this spring bee in the garden, there are a few reasons that bees emerge earlier than they should. The first thing I checked is whether it had a stylops this parasite feeds of the developing bee so the bee doesn’t have enough fat to keep it going through to spring so emerges early but as you can see by the abdomen it doesnt have a stylops. Bees can become confused as in a long spell of cold followed by a warm period can trick them into thinking it’s spring, again this isnt the case.

So while I cant be 100% sure I would say this bee was disturbed from its slumber by a gardener who has dug its cell up forcing the bee to emerge early.

Most bees overwinter as fully formed adults that stay in their cell till spring.

Lasioglossum lativentre- female- Sandy

Another new bee it’s been a bumper year this year for new finds

Widespread in southern Britain, being found from the Isles of Scilly to East Kent and north to Yorkshire and in Wales but not in Scotland or the Isle of Man. It is known from the Channel Islands but only from Jersey. Recorded from Ireland in O’Connor et al. (2009).
Abroad, a western Palaearctic species, found from Western Europe east to Iran, north to southern Sweden and south to Iberia and Crete; accidentally introduced into the Azores (A W Ebmer, pers. comm.).
Status (in Britain only)
This species is not regarded as scarce or threatened.
A woodland edge species, sometimes found in gardens in southern Britain, also from grasslands, ruderal habitats and orchards.
Flight period
Probably univoltine. The female flies from early March to late October; the male, from mid July to mid October.
Nesting biology
Believed to be a solitary mining bee but the nesting behaviour is apparently unrecorded.
Flowers visited
Flower visits are mainly to Asteraceae, including dandelions, but other families are also used, including Rosaceae, Ranunculaceae, Salicaceae and Ericaceae.
The cleptoparasitic bees Sphecodes ephippius (Linnaeus) and Sphecodes puncticeps Thomson are reputed to parasitise this bee.

Hylaeus confusus – male – Sandy

Another new species to me

Hylaeus confusus and the much rarer H. incongruus form a species pair, the females of which are are difficult to separate. Males of bothe species have the mandibles streaked with white (like H. dilatatus which has very different antennal scapes) and are easily distinguished from each other by the colour of the labrum (black in confusus, white in incongruus). H. confusus also has the underside of the antennae reddish (black in the limited incongruus material I’ve seen).

Female confusus has a more rounded head (front view) than H. incongruus with smaller yellow spots on the face which are well separated from the antennal insertion sockets. The central black zone of the face is wider (or shorter) than in incongruus. The areas of the frons immediately above the antennal insertions are textured much like the rest of the frons without the semi-shining zones of incongruus.

H. confusus is fairly common on the south of England but has a patchy distribution in the north. It extends as far north as the Inverness area. It exploits a wide range of habitats and is specially fond of woodland rides and clearings. Adults fly from June until August and visit a variety of flowers, with no obvious preferences. Nesting occurs in hollow plant stems, dead wood and even old Oak Marble Galls (check).