The Bees Knees (or Feet)

This last week of sunshine (and showers) has brought the bees out in our garden – at least three species already, plus a massive unidentified one going like a bumblebee out of hell over the roof!

When it comes to identifying bees, it would seem a bee’s knees are hardly relevant at all. In the case of our first positively identified species this year, it was the feet that were key for the charmingly named Hairy Footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes). This is one of the earliest bee species to appear in the spring and we had several merrily tucking into the primroses last weekend.

Hairy Footed Flower Bee

The second species to be spotted in the Lazy Garden was this little mining bee (Andrena sp.) seen basking on an ivy leaf in the sunshine. Unfortunately there are lots of species of mining bees and my photography wasn’t up to scratch enough to be able to identify this one. I did load it onto the ever-useful iSpot website, where several very helpful people discussed various possibilities (I would love to say “debate raged” over my bee, but that would be a bit over dramatic), before concluding that it was best to just stick with Andrena sp. rather than get it wrong. Hopefully our mining bee will reappear sometime when Chris (who can work the macro lens) is out in the garden and we can get a better photo to nail the identification.

Mining Bee Andrena sp

The final species this week was the humble, but oh so important, Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) seen here already sporting a fine set of pollen sacs. Bee populations in general are struggling so much at the moment, it was great to see 3 species at least surviving in our garden.

Honey Bee

And finally I’ve been having a go with the trail cam filming our bee friends. As per usual with the trail cam, I had to wade through quite a lot of footage of things blowing about in the wind (in this case mainly primroses) before finding this short film of our Hairy Footed Flower Bee, doing what he does best – landing on flowers with his hairy little feet!

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