3 April 2011

Garden Insects

The recent warm spell and the sun breaking through the clouds has got the early spring insects dashing about looking for suitable food supplies , nest sites and , no doubt, mates.

Small Tortoiseshell - Aglais urticae

The first butterfly I have seen in the garden this year. Adding some colour to an already colourful pot on the patio



Is it a Bee? Is it a Fly? ...... It's a Bee-Fly. Well I don't make the names up.

Strictly speaking this is a Fly but it superficially resembles a Bumble Bee being quite round and hairy. It is quite easy to overlook this fascinating fly as it is quite small, quite a drab brown colour and it flits around quickly so you don't get a good view of it. However it has one very distinctive feature being its huge proboscis (the long pointy bit at the front) which makes it look like some kind of dangerous cartoon creature. In reality, as with most dangerous looking insects, it is perfectly harmless and the proboscis is for feeding on nectar in those difficult to reach places.

Bee-Fly  -  Bombylius major

Bee-Fly  -  Bombylius major
...using its long thin proboscis to reach nectar in a Forget-Me-Not flower



As more plants are coming into flower then so the Bees start appearing

Tawny Mining Bee - Andrena fulva
This striking bee was flying at ground level around the garden probably looking for a good place to dig itself a nest. Don't worry even if they do nest in your garden you wont get a swarm of them as they are solitary Bees. The "nest" is quite a modest affair (small hole in the ground) and you probably won't even know its there although you might see a small volcano like mound of soil which they have excavated at the entrance hole .

I was having no luck getting a picture of this female until it buzzed around me a few times and then landed on my trousers!


Honey Bee - Apis mellifera

1 comment:

  1. Stunning photos. Great shot of the bee-fly on the flower.