Tuesday, 28 May 2013

'Other Bees' on the May 2013 Transcect

No Bumbles

My transect around one of the fields of the Oadby Lodge Farm in May 2013 found no bumblebees at all, but plenty of 'other bees. I managed to photograph some of these and submitted the images to the Ispot website for some help in identifying the bees seen.

Melecta albifrons?

The first bee I came across was sitting on a dandelion head. In fact that was the position in which I found most of the bees that day. It was a black bee covered with yellow pollen from the dandelions. Rather than collecting the pollen, it was more intent on foraging for nectar with its long tongue. On its thorax there were distinctive wisps of whitish hairs amongst the majority of black hairs. There may have been more white hairs on the abdomen, but in the only picture I caught before it flew off, these are partially covered by the wings.

The Ispot verdict so far is that this is likely to be an example of a Melecta albifrons bee. Whilst not scarce or threatened, it does seem rarer in the Midlands than in the South-East of England. The National Biodiversity Network records are shown on the map below. (See terms and conditions)

Open interactive map in new window


Another slimmer bee was also encountered frequenting dandelion heads. This was more likely to be visiting for the sake of the pollen which could be collected on the distinctively hairy rear legs.

and another one

There are similarities and differences between these two bees. One has a more gingery thorax than the other, which may gave a slimmer abdomen. I am not certain, but the Ispot suggestion is that both are Andrena haemorrhoa (see http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/329721 and http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/329731.

More flowering plants to come

There is plenty of scope for observing bumblebees on this transect on my next visit as there was evidence of more bumblebee planting getting ready to flower. There were tall spears of clover in one area and other flowering plants further round. So I am hoping that the bumblebees will find them when the flowers bloom later.