A sweep of Baits bites Lock (River Cam)

It was a very cold start more like March than nearly May. I did a quick jaunt up the river to Baits bites lock. For individual ID’s please click on the photos

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Megachile ligniseca (leafcutter bee) garden

Going through my 1000’s of photos from last year I picked out these which I had not ID’d they have just been confirmed as Megachile ligniseca. yet another bee species for the garden. Male and female in the photos.

Distribution
An uncommon species more frequently found in the south-east of mainland Britain. It has a more scattered distribution further north, seemingly reaching its extremity in north Yorkshire and two recent records from Staffordshire. There is also a cluster of records from south Wales though apparently absent from north Wales. Also recorded from Ireland but apparently absent from the Channel Islands. Occurs in western and central Europe, also in Finland and parts of European Russia.
Status (in Britain only)
This species is not regarded as being scarce or threatened.
Habitat
Since it is a species that utilises bramble, thistles and Himalayan balsam it is likely to be found at ruderal-dominated sites. It has also been found on post-industrial sites where it was recorded feeding on Himalayan balsam and found frequently flying about standing deadwood and bramble thickets.
Flight period
This is a summer-flying species with early records from mid-June to as late as early September. The majority of records however fall between early July and mid-August.
Nesting biology
Nests are most frequently encountered in timber such as old trees and fence posts. One nest has been found in an iron tube. The nesting holes are typically of a large diameter and the cells constructed of sycamore leaves. It is surmised that other plant species are used though no evidence of this has been recorded to date.
Flowers visited
It is known to visit thistles and bramble and has also been observed visiting Himalayan balsam (pers. obs.) though no information was obtained on whether this was for nectar or pollen.
Parasites
There is no information on any parasites, though it should be assumed that M. ligniseca does have a parasite and that it is highly likely to be a Coelioxys in parallel with other Megachile species…BWARS

Lasioglossum smeathmanellum

Without a sample and examining under a microscope this is not a 100% ID

Distribution
Restricted to southern England, Channel Islands, Wales and north to Northumberland. It is gradually replaced by the closely related L. cupromicans towards the north, and in upland situations, particularly in the South-west. The species has a generally Mediterranean and Atlantic distribution in Europe. It is also known from north Africa.

Status (in Britain only)
This bee is not regarded as being scarce or threatened. However, the species does seem to have declined nationally in recent years (G R Else, pers. comm. & M Edwards, pers. obs.).

Habitat
Although L. smeathmanellum may be encountered almost anywhere in southern England and Wales, it is often abundant on coastal soft-rock cliffs. Inland it is frequently reported as nesting in the soft mortar of old walls.

Flight period
Females fly between late March and September, males are found between July and September. As with all British Lasioglossum, only mated females hibernate.

Pollen collected
This species is polylectic.

Nesting biology
Often nests communally in suitable areas of old walls and bare cliffs, but is not known to be eusocial, with a queen and a few workers.

Flowers visited
Recorded visiting a wide variety of flowers from a number of different plant families…BWARS