In an earlier post, I wrote about wanting to get more familiar with the different bees. I’ve been trying to identify them all year, and the only ones I can say I know with any certainty are the first to fly – the Early Bumblebee (Bombus pratorum) and the Hairy Footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes). I thought taking pictures would help with identification but those bees just won’t keep still and blurry pictures aren’t very good for identification! Occasionally, though, I do succeed in taking a good photo or two. These pictures were taken in May on the way to a job.
I was walking past Hampstead Heath and saw the bramble flowers and Hogweed umbels literally buzzing with activity. Great, I thought, I’m sure I will be able to i.d these bees. But when I looked them up, I realised there are cuckoo bees also, which resemble the others. Argh! I said to myself, pulling my hair out. Identifying bees isn’t easy! One of my lovely friends sent me a bee i.d. book, and I must say, I’m even more confused! So many bees, and there are even hoverflies which look like bees!! I will just keep looking at the book and reading bits here ‘n’ there. I’m sure it will click … eventually..
Last week, when volunteering at a local community kitchen garden, I managed to snap an action shot – a bee mid-flight. And it didn’t turn out blurry. A fluke, to be sure! I like the way the sun is glancing off the hind tibia.
Here’s another bee pic taken that same morning..
Incidentally, for those people out there wishing to help bees by planting lots of lovely pollinator friendly plants, beware! The majority of plants purchased from garden centres have been treated with pesticides to make them look at their most appealing, and these chemicals may well persist in the plant when you plant them out in your garden. While trying to help, many gardeners may well be contributing to the problem of bee decline, even if they work organically. I have been guilty of this – the Lobelia that did so well for me last year in my shady growing space was bought from a local garden centre. But I bought them as bee-friendly plants. Oops!
For more info, follow this link..
There is hope though. From February 2018, no flowering plants sold by home improvement retailer B&Q will have been grown using neonics, the pesticide most implicated in bee decline.
Of course, another alternative is to grow plants from seeds yourself – if you have room, that is. I only have two sunny windowsills, and these get overcrowded with seedlings as it is.
However you do it, bee kind, bee friendly, bee happy.