More Bees Please

The Bee Hotel was a live with activity today – who’d have thought it could be so successful. I’m still working on my bee ID though. The larger bamboo canes seem to be filling up nicely with Red Mason Bees (Osmia bicornis), at least that’s what I thought they were, but I’m beginning to have my doubts now. There are also what I think are Wool Carder Bees (Anthidium manicatum) taking an interest. There is also another species of much smaller bee (or possibly a wasp) that is taking up residence in some of the smaller holes in the blocks of wood. I wasn’t sure what it was but some it has been suggested that it is a parastitic wasp called Monosapyga clavicornis. According to the Bee, Wasp and Ant Recording Society website:

The hosts of this wasp [Monosapyga clavicornis] are the bees Chelostoma florisomne and species of Osmia. The female introduces her egg into the cell of the host with the aid of the ovipositor, which is not exclusively used as a sting (as in most other aculeates). On hatching the first instar larva has large mandibles, and despite being apodous, is active and proceeds to eat the host’s egg. Then it moults into the next larval instar which has smaller mandibles, and proceeds to feed on the host’s provisions. It is thus a ‘secondary cleptoparasite’ (Gauld & Bolton, 1988).

I guess that would make sense if the other bees are indeed Red Mason Bees (Osmia rufa) as these wasps could be parisitising them. But then again maybe the larger bees are actually the favourite host of these wasps, the Sleepy Scissor Bee (Chelostoma florisomne). I’m just going round in circles with my ID now but I’m beginning to think we have

  • Sleepy Scissor Bees (Chelostoma florisomne)
  • Monosapyga clavicornis wasps
  • Wool Carder Bees (Anthidium manicatum)

Please correct me if you know better?

Elsewhere in the garden the bumble bees are buzzing and things are looking nice. There’s even a huge Campanula flowering that I had completely forgotten about. It’s always nice when a plant surprises you! Poppies are beginning to flower where we’ve let them, the yellow Aliums are looking lovely and the Phormium Flower spike continues to grow and must be 10 foot tall by now!

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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