As the weeks have passed the bee species common in the garden have changed. Back in the early Spring, the garden was regularly visited by Queen red-tailed bees (Bombus lapidarius) , Queen buff-tails (B. terrestris) and Queen white-tails (B. lucorum). I was delighted to find the red tails nesting in one of the small “natural”, that is unkempt, areas where there is a north facing bare soil slope under a winter flowering Viburnum bush, adjacent to a path and a beech hedge.
For several days I watched a number of Queens busily going in and out of the holes, but for some weeks now there hasn’t been the same Queen activity. As Spring advanced, Early bumblebees (B. pratorum) were most common, together with a whole variety of the smaller solitary bees, mostly of the mining varieties, excavating their nest holes in the lawn and in a matter of a few days just vanishing again.
Carder and leafcutter bees have been performing their pollination and nesting magic in the hot days just finished, together with the worker bees reared in those early nests, mostly smaller versions of their mothers. And now we are in the height of summer, the drones are appearing.
Today, strong winds and heavy showers were not enough to stop the lavender fest of the Red tailed drones.
Unlike the almost all black queens, the drones have a yellow stripe on the thorax as well as a yellow moustache. You can just see the latter in the picture, but they move very quickly and this mug shot is the best I have so far. The lavender was whipping about and the bee was very active.
Moustaches seem to be a common feature of male bees. The male Leafcutter in my header is sporting a fine specimen and another male bee, seen below, is also wearing generous ginger whiskers, like an extra from a 1970’s Western. I just think it all adds to the charm. But then, I am partial to a well trimmed moustache.