posted in: Bees, Invertebrates, My garden, Worcestershire | 0

R and I felt that the Boy Wonder might still be a little too young for an Easter egg hunt this year, so this morning he and I went on an Easter bee hunt instead. In an effort to stop him rushing at the things he wanted to look at and getting frustrated when they promptly flew away (or in the case of ladybirds, hurled themselves off the leaves on which they were sunbathing and disappeared into the depths of the plant), I told him that we had to creep up on them, and turned it into a game. Could we get to them before they noticed us? Who would win – us or the insects? As the Boy is almost pathologically competitive this worked pretty well, but it also allowed his mother to take a photo of us (from the safety of the kitchen doorway) which showed me doing bent-legged pantomime creeping, while the Boy marched along, carefree and upright, in my wake. R loves this, but I think it looks like an illustration from a previously unpublished A. A. Milne story, in which Christopher Robin befriends anĀ orangutan.

On the subject of orange things, at the end of the hunt I asked the Boy which bee he had liked best, and reminded him of some of the ones we’d seen, including “The one with the orangey red fur.” It wasn’t a surprise that he promptly picked that one, because red is his favourite colour and the Andrena fulva we’d seen, on a different shrub and in cooler light than this, had been closer to scarlet than to orange. The reflected yellow and green of the aucuba has warmed the colouring of this individual to the point at which its common name – the Tawny Mining Bee – almost makes sense, but still, when I’m put in charge of things, that name will be reassigned to the Buffish Mining Bee, and this one will be renamed the Red and Black Mining Bee. There is another female miner, Andrena haemorrhoa, that’s also startlingly red when fresh, but I’m going to let that one keep its current common name of the Orange-tailed Mining Bee, because in many circumstances it’s the patch of colour on the end of its abdomen that’s most immediately noticeable. I’m not unreasonable, you see – I just want things to be logical.

Next week: I will be discussing the recent spread of the Norfolk Hawker, and ranting about its common name.

A little selection of my Bees of the Day can be found here, if you’d care to take a look. Three are mining bees, including an Andrena haemorrhoa, and the fourth – I think – is a sleeping Melecta albifrons.