Tag Archives: bees

Bee hunter

lilybeehusk

The Regale lilies are always popular with honey bees as the big scented flowers produce copious nectar and pollen.  This bee wasn't being busy, and on closer inspection it was clearly dead, a dry husk of a bee.  Just visible is it's assassin, a specialist predator of pollinators, the Crab Spider, Misumena vatia. The females lurk in flower heads to catch visiting pollinators and though only pea-sized will easily tackle prey as big as a bumblebee.  Preferring white or yellow flowers, they change colour to match their chosen bloom perfectly.  They don't only wait passively for prey to arrive though but garland the flowers with web trip lines too - around the back of the flower the spider was busy doing just that.

misumenavatia

everyone wants to know what this is…

abutilon

 

Abutilon x suntense always attracts attention, adding early summer glamour beneath the wild pear tree. Eager-snouted visitors will draw the flowers up to sniff them, probably expecting to inhale a rich perfume but despite the flower's promise, there is none - it is none the worse for that. It will produce a succession of voluptuous violet blooms throughout May, June and into July. Fast growing, though short-lived, it easily reaches 3m in only a couple of years - hard pruning after flowering keeps it lower.

Below, a Nomada bee visits.  Solitary cleptoparasites of Andrena mining bees, the females sneak into the well-stocked burrows of mining bees to lay eggs. Disposing of the mining bee grubs, the Nomada larvae develop, feeding on the stolen supplies.  They are only active from late April to early June, so the flowering of the Abutilon suits their schedule perfectly.

abutilonnomada