Yesterday I was lucky to observe a male Hairy Footed Flower Bee stalking and mating with the female.
Of course I didn't have my camera with me and it all happened far too quickly for me to record!
Needless to say this completely disrupted my afternoon and I kept popping out (resting my eyes!!) to see if I could record the event. The short video below was recorded in slow motion on my phone which is something I will avoid in future as the slow motion feature affects the quality considerably. But you can get the gist:
By this time the population of females had increased to 3 at any one time and I regularly watched 3 males patrolling too.
The image at the top of this post is the Male Hairy Footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes) taken a few years ago - it's the best photo I have to show off the hairy feet. They are incredibly quick, preferring tubular flowers where they hang upside down (hence the Pulmonaria but also active on the Flowering Currant in my garden) which makes them incredibly difficult to photograph. They will also feed on primroses, which I have an abundance of in both the flower beds and now the lawn!
I have occasionally found males resting, basking the warmth of the sun, but never a female. Some more rubbish photos below - getting better but still a long way to go.
The males are a buff ginger and have lovely hairy feet, hence the name. The females are pure black and lack the hairy feet, you can often spot the pollen collected on their orange/red hind legs from a distance. They are one of the earliest solitary bees and usually lay individual eggs in soft mortar, each egg sealed with a provision of nectar. Read more here
If I had known then what I know now
I would have started this diary years ago
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