I am back from my 10 days over Easter at Nature in Art, having met so many interesting and bee friendly people and made quite a few converts too.
I am also much more knowledgeable about honey bees and the great work done by Bees Abroad. Their observation hive was fascinating.
One day I arrived early to hear the bees making an extra loud buzzing, easily audible from behind the closed shutters. When Brian opened up, it was clear the excitement was caused by new loads of pale pollen arriving. A frenzy of waggle dancing was going on. If I read their directions correctly they were collecting from the nearby rape field which had just sprung into flower.
Brian, one of the project leaders of Bees Abroad, works in Cameroon, Nigeria and Ghana. He wore a very cool African robe and hat on a couple of days and will be giving a talk tomorrow night (Tuesday) at the Museum. entitled “My Beekeeping Exploits”. Will you be appearing fully kitted out Brian?? :)
The Bee Exhibition “Winged Saviours” continues at Nature in Art until April 29th and here is a brilliant winged photo of director Simon Trapnell from the local newspaper
Back home in the Empty Garden we are busy trying to make it not quite so empty and I will be posting a list of wildlife friendly plants I am trying soon… but, joy of joys, a brilliantly ginger Tawny Mining bee, Andrena fluva, paid a visit to the Shed. Her freshly emerged colours are wonderful. The photo does not really show the difference between the colour on the thorax and on the abdomen. One is deep russet and the other a brighter ginger.. very beautiful !
I can’t find any traces of her typical nesting volcanoes in the grass but later that day another mining bee was trying to dig a burrow right in the middle of our hard packed and unforgiving mud patch of a lawn. I felt very sorry for her, we can barely get a fork into this concrete hard surface. I watched her valiantly trying to excavate a hole and longed to give a helping hand but common sense must have prevailed and she flew away, hopefully to find somewhere softer to dig. Again she was brilliantly coloured with paler ginger thorax and black shiny abdomen with small white hairs on her legs.
I took a few seconds of film and although not in focus ( I WILL improve) was good enough for me to see her broad face with white hairs. I hope to get an ID and will update this post. She seemed not at all concerned by my presence… if she noticed me at all.
Happy digging little bees!