"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Yes! A Hairy Footed Flower bee, BBKA and more bees

A couple of days ago I saw my very first male Hairy Footed Flower Bee of this year.. and actually the first in this garden. Last year I bought some pulmonaria, one of the HFFB’s favourite flowers.This year it struggled into bloom and sure enough here comes this very lovely little bee, darting in with his characteristic flight and unmistakable high pitched buzz. This evening he was back and I rushed to get my camera and luckily was able to get a couple of shots. It was 5.30 pm. You can see his handsome white moustache and in the second shot his white face.

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I wonder if the colony in the strawberry pot survived the winter and I look forward to seeing the smart females, all black with ginger legs, whose flight is so purposeful and who look like little black bombs as they zigzag from flower to flower.

Paint a Bee Workshop for the BBKA
Last weekend I was at Harper Adams Agricultural University for the British Beekeepers Association annual conference. It’s a huge event with lectures and demos and  teaching. I was there to give  2 “Paint a Bee “workshops. Bees are really not the easiest things to paint, and it was wonderful to have 2 fully subscribed classes. Thanks to all who came and made the day so enjoyable. 

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I talked to many beekeepers, some with just one or two hives and some with hundreds. It was fascinating to hear about their experiences successes and failures. They are a welcoming and inclusive bunch of people. We are lucky to have them. How well the bees came through this bad winter is not yet known. I think many of them are just keeping everything crossed!

More Bees

Here in the Empty Garden I have not yet seen a honey bee but I am pleased to report lots of big Bombus terrestris queens. Today I also saw a beautiful Bombus pratorum queen and the funny little bee fly. The colours of the new queens are so vivid.

At the weekend though I found a sad and bedraggled bee struggling to keep going. She was just about moving but a long way from any food. It had been raining and was very windy which must be tough conditions for bees. The only thing I had in bloom then was a patch of winter heather and that’s where I put her, after  warming her up on my hand. Bees are often reluctant to leave a safe warm hand but she had to go and get some fuel. It was nice to watch her finding food and eventually being able to fly away. I wish her well.

bee on my hand bg

There is definitely a bit of an Ahhhh factor to this photo!

I hope all your bees are beginning to buzz wherever you are.

4 comments:

J Newton said...

Very nice to see the bee photos. And the painting.
We have set up a bee & bug house here near Portland, OR and the solitary bees have made pretty good use of it (http://concretewheels.com/objects/bee_house_02.htm). The weather has warmed enough that the over-winter crowd has started to break through their mud doorways and I've seen quite a bit of activity with adults starting to go in and out of the structure, starting the process all over again. We even had a grass-carrying wasp building nests last year (page three at the link above) - a new critter for us, having not seen one in our garden before.
Love that you are planting for them. We hope to do more of that as well. They need all the support we can provide...

Anonymous said...

Your garden must be coming along for you to have attracted such a variety of bumbles. Isn't it wonderful to have been able to save one. Do you think she was a queen? I believe I saw my first blueberry bee this week.
ct

sharp green pencil said...

Jamie : many thanks for your very interesting comment and the link to your excellent bee house and meticulous recordings. You also have the most wonderful photo of Anthidium manicatum. The 5th image down. She's the one with the yellow spots on her abdomen. She collects the hairs from the leaves of plants here in the UK. She us also a later summer bee. None of my bee house bees are out yet ..soon soon I hope!
The grass carrying wasp is beautiful. We dont have many of the wasp-waisted wasps here in the UK. they are so very elegant. Gorgeous photography all round.

Ct It was certainly a queen and I had thought a B terrestris by her size. I planted the garden specifically for bees last year but am still short of early bee flowers but even they have been late given our very cold long winter.Yes it is nice to be able to give one or two of them a helping hand. She refused sugar water and I was glad for my little patch of heather!
I never saw the blueberry bee in the US. We dont have a bee quite so irridescent and I remember very fondly the gentle green eyed carpenter bees in Orlando!

Diana Studer said...

our Tecoma, Cape honeysuckle, is a throbbing hum of bees!