My Weigelia florida variegata is heavily in flower and yesterday it was buzzing with bees. They almost climb into the flower to reach the nectar and didn't seem bothered that I was trying to take photos.
I noticed one bee looked a little odd ...
... a little bit like a honeybee but it's antennae were incredibly long.
A quick Twitter check with Ian Beavis confirmed this was a Long-horned bee (Eucera longicornis).
Only the males have the long antennae so there could be females around that I am not proficient enough to identify. To be honest they could have been one of the many bottoms sticking out from the flowers! Ian was slightly surprised it was feeding on the Weigelia but this plant is near the mini meadow where the vetches are just coming into flower and there's a large patch of bird's foot trefoil in the "lawn".
According to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust this species has declined significantly across Britain and is now absent from many of the southern counties it used to be found in. As a result, it is considered a UK priority species. Eggs are laid in burrows dug by the female in bare or sparsely vegetated light soils, preferring south-facing slopes or vertical cliff faces. They emerge in mid-may and are on the wing until early July.
I love that they can go grey as they age. This one must be fairly new or he's keeping out of the sun.
Checking the flower again today I realise how lucky I was to spot this yesterday - there's barely a bee in sight.
So pleased I managed to get some photos. I'm sure you will understand how excited I am!!!
When I eventually manage to drag myself into the studio I am listening to Dave Goulson's audiobook "The Garden Jungle" ... hugely informative and a great follow on from his earlier book "A Sting in the Tail"
If I had known then what I know now
I would have started this diary years ago
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