Saturday, 25 April 2020

Of Bees and Bee Flies....

Part of our #DailyExercise walk takes us through the small Gorgie Dalry Community Park that lies behind one of the local supermarkets. We've never really used that park much in the past, as it is mostly taken up with children's playparks, so we've been fascinated to discover the busy world of bees that lives here.

On Friday 10 April we first saw chocolate mining bees (Andrena scotica) flying into holes in the banks at the side of the footpath through the park

We worked out that they were nesting in aggregations in the banks here. (They're solitary bees, which means they don't live in hives, but they often make their individual nests in colonies).

Then on 22 April we saw some tiny little nomad cuckoo bees (Nomada sp).

With a little bit of research, I now think these are Marshem's Nomad bees (Nomada marshamella) as the description fits and this species is known to occur in Edinburgh and known to parasitise Andrena species of bees including Andrena scotica, the chocolate mining bee. There are however other similar species of Nomada bees, so I may be wrong.

Today, we got this photo of both chocolate mining bees and the Nomada bees going into the same hole

Nomada is the largest genus of kleptoparasitic "cuckoo bees." Kleptoparasitic bees enter the nests of a host and lay eggs there, stealing resources that the host has already collected. The number of nomad bees in the park has increased rapidly over the last few days and it seems that they must be having quite an impact on the Andrena bees.

Just to complicate things, yesterday we saw a dark edged bee fly in the park.

This cute and fluffy looking fly is also a kleptoparasite and lays its eggs in the nests of any bees it can find. So in the park, these bee flies will be parasitising both the Andrena and Nomada bees!

And if it wasn't for lockdown, we probably would never have realised any of this was going on just round the corner from where we live!


 The UK Government is, at the moment, allowing us out for one form of #DailyExercise once a day in addition to visiting the shops (as infrequently as possible), travelling to work (for those with essential jobs that can't be done from home) and medical emergencies including helping those who are self isolating. In England, the police advice is that you can drive to a location before walking or jogging as long as you spend more time exercising than driving, the advice from Police Scotland however, seems to be that you should not drive to a location to exercise and should only exercise very locally.


Simon Douglas Thompson said...

I keep finding some beauties too, although I'm not as good at identifying them as you!

RG said...

It happens that there are two kinds of Amaryllis - the kind you have -no leaves - and the kind we have - leaves!!!

Jeff said...

I am amazed at your knowledge of such small pieces of nature. Thanks for sharing.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Simon, yes I've noticed you share some lovely hoverfly photos on your blog!

Rabbits Guy, I hadn't realised that until we got this amarylis as a gift. I had expected it to have leaves....

Thanks Jeff

Jenn Jilks said...

They are an interesting species!
Crazy times, aren't they?