Tuesday 11 July 2023

Let's hear it for the Bees

8th July 2023 - the flowers are blooming nicely in the garden at present, and Andy M noticed a good number of bees on the flowers of allium, lavender, verbena and salvia in particular. With the help of a few photos and a field guide, he found not only the more common species such as Buff-tailed Bumblebee, White-tailed Bumblebee and Red-tailed Bumblebee, but also others like the Garden Bumblebee with its twin banded thorax, the Common Carder Bee with its ginger thorax and stripy abdomen, and a Field Cuckoo Bumblebee which can be almost totally black with a shiny black abdomen, and is parasitic laying its eggs in the nests of the Common Carder Bee.

We found the 'Pocket Guide to Bumblebees' by Richard Lewington and published by Bloomsbury, was very helpful in identifying the various species.

Buff-tailed Bumblebee - note the thin buff-coloured band 
between the black and white bands of the abdomen

Buff-tailed Bumblebee

White-tailed Bumblebee - note the pure white end to the abdomen, 
with the yellow bands being slightly paler than the Buff-tailed.

Garden Bumblebee - with a yellow band at each end of the thorax,
and a white end to the abdomen. 
This one may be the melanistic form which is generally slightly darker

Garden Bumblebee

Red-tailed Bumblebee - a smaller worker, with no yellow band 
on the abdomen and a reddish terminal band.

Common Carder Bee - a smaller 'fluffier'  bee, 
with a ginger thorax and a noticeably striped abdomen.

Common Carder Bee

Common Carder Bee

Field Cuckoo Bumblebee - which can be variable in colour,
and like this one can be almost completely black. 
As with all Cuckoo Bumblebee, the abdomen is shiny and the wings tinted.

Field Cuckoo Bumblebee

No comments:

The Aims of Abington Naturewatch

At their meeting on 9 April 2005 the members approved this revised version of the aims of Abington Naturewatch:

  • To monitor and record the wildlife (fauna & flora) within the borders of the Abingtons;
  • To encourage protection of our wildlife, maintain its quality and foster its diversity;
  • To promote awareness of the richness, potential and problems of the natural environment of the Abingtons;
  • To cooperate in improving access to the local natural environment for the benefit of all Abington villagers.

Pat Daunt, Founder

The organisation is informal and communication is by email if possible; members are notified of events from time to time. Contact details are maintained by a small "project team". There is currently no membership fee as costs are covered by voluntary contributions at events.

Members are encouraged to report notable sightings of flora and fauna within the Abingtons to the appropriate sector coordinator and an illustrated record is published annually.

A map of the area covered, with some features noted, is available here: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=213774935674882866424.00000111dca2be9f06ab8&z=13>

For more information or to join, please contact David Farrant on (01223) 892871.

Contributions to our records should be sent to sector contacts or either of the above. Photographs may also be submitted to Andy Merryweather (amerryweather61@gmail.com)