At the very last minute this morning I joined Rory, Heath Hands’ expert on insects, pollinators and other invertebrates who was leading a group ferreting out early spring pollinators. And here we all are – photographing solitary miner bee nests – those little holes in the ground that we are all staring at!
Female solitary miner bees choose a suitable piece of ground in which to nest and use their bodies to dig out a nesting chamber in the ground. There they lay their eggs, add pollen for food and seal off that section of the nest before moving onto the next chamber. Although they are as solitary as their names suggests, these lady bees often build their nests close together in ‘aggregations’. One would like to think that they did get together occasionally for a gossip. Here are those nests in close up.
Although you may think that bumble bees and honey bees are the great pollinators, it is actually solitary bees who do most of the pollinating work, brushing the pollen onto their legs and transferring the excess to other plants.
But if you are looking for pollinators, you need to look beyond bees. At this time of the year flies and hoverflies are hard at work – yes, even those bulging bluebottles that we all hate so much….This next one is a tiger hoverfly – see his stripes –
Well, at least I hope it is. Trying to take pictures while writing notes on one’s phone and keeping up with fellow explorers required rather more hands than I had available so I am not entirely sure that I have got them all right. However, I know that this was definitely a bumble bee –
If you are interested in finding out more about the flora and fauna who share their heath with us Heath Hands run a whole range of programmes many of which, like our pollinator walk, are free.
Take a look on their website to see what is coming up.