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Thursday, 18 May 2017

The rich insect life of a wildlife garden with Forest cuckoo bees; its prey species, Early bumblebee; bumblebee look-alike, Narcissus fly; pollen-eating beetle Malachius bipustulatus.

At this time of year this wildlife garden in Cuckfield, West Sussex is teaming with many insect species and also birds that feed on them. This is a male Forest cuckoo bee, Bombus sylvestris on bramble flowers -- a bumblebee whose females lay their eggs in the nests of Early Bumble bees where they eat the host grubs and food stores.
male Forest cuckoo bee, Bombus sylvestris

Early bumblebee, Bombus pratorum
 And above is a male Early bumblebee, Bombus pratorum which is preyed upon by Forest cuckoo bees.
Merodon equestris the Narcissus fly
 Several Hover-flies mimic bumblebees including Merodon equestris the Narcissus fly above, which is feeding on Cat's ear flowers in the lawn.  Its grubs eat narcissus bulbs such as daffodils.  Daffodils thrive in my garden and their numbers could do with some reduction.
 Allowing grasses to grow in a lawn, as above, provides a rich source of pollen for beetles like Malachius bipustulatus which are harmless to garden plants and are handsome creatures don't you think?
Malachius bipustulatus

Click on any picture to enlarge it.
See also my talk on "The extraordinary lives of wild bees and the important role of gardeners in their survival."   at if you are interested in bees or Sussex-based public speakers.

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