Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Bees

A Digger Bee (Andrena possibly milwaukeensis) at Colfsfoot
Spring is always slow to come to the Home Bug Garden, but when it finally arrives, it is nice to see some repeating patterns. The same Digger Bee species (Andrena cf milwaukeensis Graenicher, 1903) captured in the picture above on 2 May 2007 is active again this May 4th and joined by three other bee species.
Striped Squill
The Striped Squill (Puschkinia scilloides libanotica) are the busiest at the moment, probably because they are in full sun. The queens of two early bumble bees, the Tricoloured (Bombus ternarius) and the Half-black (B. vagans or perplexus), stumble through the spikes of striped flowers with a loud buzz or two of warning, much as they did last May and many Mays before.
Tricoloured Bumble Bee at Striped Squill last May 7th
Not all is exactly as before, or at least I can't claim that is so. The fourth species of bee seems to be a largish Halictidae (Sweat Bee). Large for a Sweat Bee is not much - perhaps a tenth of the mass of a bumble bee queen - and this one is a bit skittish, so perhaps we never noticed it this early in the season before. But we do have one from mid-summer that looks very similar, so I'll leave off with that in case some other gardener would like to know what it looks like. If Mrs HBG gets a good picture of the Spring form, I'll post it for comparison.
Halictus Sweat Bee from July 2009

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