Thursday, 29 June 2017
Hairy-Legged Mining Bee
This little bee in the photo above, adorned with the golden pantaloons, is a Hairy-Legged Mining Bee (Dasypoda hirtipes).
She turned up in our garden over the weekend and I've just had confirmation that she is what I thought she was: a Nationally Scarce species, recorded in less than 100 of the 10km squares that Britain is divided in to.
As such, she is more common than the Tawny Longhorn (who has been back in the garden and brought a friend with him),
but still rare enough for it to be very exciting and important that she's in our garden. The species distribution is around a handful of sites around the southern part of the UK, mainly coastal sand dunes and inland heaths. We are neither of those so I'm curious as to why she's arrived in our garden.
Britain has around 270 species of bee, and 250 of those are solitary bees. Many of them nest in holes in the ground, which is why it is so vitally important that lawns (a huge nesting resource for solitary mining bees) aren't treated with pesticides which would kill them. Solitary bees are responsible for the majority of pollination in this country, both of our crops and in our gardens, so they are incredibly important. They just don't get to share much of the limelight with honeys and bumbles and as a result, people know very little about them.
This little bee digs a big tunnel to nest in: 8-60cm, and leaves the waste pile to one side of the hole. She digs the tunnel in the afternoon and isn't usually seen after lunch because her preference is to visit yellow Asteraceae flowers (daisy family) which tend to close in the late morning.
Hirtipes means hairy. This bee is the only species of the genus to be found in Britain.
I've also had a few visits from Small Tortoiseshells this summer, which is great news because they've been notable by their absence in recent years. Here's one snoozing on the house wall before the weather broke....
The Marmalade hoverflies have been out in good numbers too...
And my Nigellas, grown from seed in the spring, are just starting to flower....
Everything in the garden is rosy.
I wish the same could be said of my toenails. One of them is purple and looks very much like it would like to detach itself from my toe, one is yellow and two are varying impressive shades of red. I very nearly have Rainbow Feet. My solution is blister plasters, which I discovered on a runner's forum. I tried them out this morning on my 4 mile run and they work wonders: no pain, no rubbing. Which is just as well as I've another HM coming up in a couple of weeks' time and I'm not missing it because of sore toes! Bad toenails goes with the territory of distance running. I've yet to meet an endurance runner who didn't have gnarly nails :o)
Hope you're all well?