Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Wool carder Bee on Birds foot trefoil

My knowledge of Bees is limited. I know that Honey bees are said to be in steep decline - yet in our garden, on the Honey suckle and Bramble blossom, which we have a lot of, is covered in them. I also know how much our Hornets enjouy a bumble bee kunch, but that's a story for another day! But there's another Bee, a Solitary Bee, that's down by the pond, and has caught my attention recently. It has a loud audible buzz, and frequents the Birds foot trefoil. I first thought it was just being picky about choosing a flower - you really feel it should have a sit down and take a rest. It ceaselessly patrols the same patch of Birds foot-Trefoil but not for the best nectar flower but to my astonishment, to ward off Bumble Bees, Wasp beetles, even unsuspecting Damselflies.

Eventually, my new Bee friend, the Wool Carder Bee, will rest on exactly the same patch of the hand rail on the pond bridge. It has a scratch and a preen and then back to business, keeping away any happless Bee that should dare to want to share the same flower patch.

At first it looks like any other bee, but close-up it has a charasmatic woolly-looking leg patches and a white beard, giving it quite a friendly persona. It has along tongue which it really puts to work on the nectar rich Birds foot trefoil. I look forward to learning about this species soon!

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