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Sunday, 17 April 2016

Solitary bees: Hairy-footed Flower Bee, Anthophora plumipes & the cleptoparasitic Common Mourning Bee, Melecta albifrons in a Cuckfield garden this week in West Sussex, UK.

 Above is the male Hairy-footed Flower Bee, Anthophora plumipes in my garden this week.  Note its hairy feet against the rosemary flower.  Click the photo' to expand it.
 The female Hairy-footed Flower Bee, Anthophora plumipes above and below has orange-coloured legs.

This female Hairy-footed Flower Bee's legs appear to be covered in yellow Cowslip pollen.  Cowslips flourish in my unmown lawn, which is a profusion of yellow at present.
She will be making a nest somewhere to lay her eggs, which will be threatened by the Common Mourning Bee, Melecta albifrons below.

This striking little black and white bee is feeding on Ground ivy -- a popular wild flower with many insects now.  It creates a hole in a closed Anthophora nest cell and then oviposits an egg on the wall inside before sealing the hole.  The first-instar larva  then destroys the host egg or grub with its long, sickle-shaped mandibles and proceeds to eat the food store.
Source: Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland by Steven Falk.

The drama occurring in a wild flower patch is just amazing to observe.

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