Unlikely place to find Bees #1

I’m now attracting strange looks from the neighbours as I stare at the patio in my back garden, – not the first place you’d think of to discover wildlife. An insect was darting around the holes dug between the patio slabs.  I eventually identified this surprisingly well-camouflaged little insect as a Fabricius’ Nomad Bee (Nomada fabriciana).

It’s tiny and easily missed, with a forewing length of only 5.5-8mm. The orange and black banding on the antennae make this a female.  The abdomen is a striking red with a pair of yellow spots, which are just visible under the folded wings (above). I managed to get a couple more photos showing off the bright abdomen, when she was flying close to the ground.

Despite looking more like a wasp, this is indeed a species of bee, which if you’re ever bored you can ‘easily’ differentiate as bees have branched body hairs. Nomad Bees are often confused as they are relatively hairless with bold wasp-like markings. Nomad Bees are cleptoparasites, laying an egg in an unsealed nest cell of another bee species, which then hatches and eats the host egg or grub and their food store.

The Fabricius’ Nomad Bee is a cleptoparasite to Mining Bees (which probably dug the nest holes between the patio slabs). The next challenge is to identify the illusive Mining Bees……

Senior Ranger Stuart

 

About blackwatervalleycountryside

The Blackwater Valley is located on the borders of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire and runs for approximately 30km from the source near Aldershot, northwards to Swallowfield. At its confluence it joins the rivers Whitewater and Loddon. The Loddon eventually flows into the River Thames near Reading. Work in the Blackwater Valley is co-ordinated by the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership on behalf of the local authorities that border the Valley. Despite being surrounded by urban development the Valley provides an important green corridor for local residents As well as the Blackwater Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a small part of the Basingstoke Canal SSSI, three nature reserves within the Valley catchment and many other areas have been recognised for their ecological importance. The local planning authorities covering the Valley have designated 31 other areas as ‘Wildlife Sites’.
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1 Response to Unlikely place to find Bees #1

  1. Anonymous says:

    👌

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