First wild bee of the year

1st bee

It was only the 12 February 2019 and I saw my first solitary bee taking nectar from the Viburnum tinus in the garden.

2nd bee

Almost immediately I spotted another one, slightly larger, but not I thought the same species.

1st bee on top

The first bee is very much like a male to me and I was keen to get a photograph of the wing venation to identify it to genera level.

1st bee venation

I thought I had it and saw the second bee on the ground.

2nd bee under plum tree

The second bee looked interested in prospecting the area.  Looking out for females, I wondered?  This is under our plum tree and there is already a colony of Andrena cineraria in residence that will put in an appearance later in the year but I could see no sign of any holes and I did not get a wing shot.

Back inside I found that the wing venation photograph was not as good as I had hoped but I thought I could perhaps push through the identification key in Steven Falk’s Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland.  When I turned up with the proposed ID as a bumblebee I realised I had gone adrift somewhere.

Never mind, perhaps another day.

queen bumble white tail.JPG

Then the idea came to me that I could perhaps identify the huge white tailed queen that is with me throughout the winter on sunny days.

But no – this too is past my ken.

queen bumble early

On the 12th. I had also seen for the first time the orange tailed queen.  I am fairly certain this is Bombus pratorum, the early bumble bee.

queen carder bee.JPGToday, 15th. February I saw my first carder queen.  I am not even trying to go closer than that.  I am just happy to see so many bees in the garden in the sunshine.

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9 thoughts on “First wild bee of the year

    • There is no similar guide to the bees of France. I have realised now that it is not sufficient to look at a photograph to identify most bees. Bumble bees are really difficult and would have to be immobilised. I am just content to recognise the most obvious genera and enjoy their visits. Amelia

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  1. They were visiting here in the Vaucluse this week also. There are always a few bumblebees during the winter on a nice day, as we have a few things blooming all year. I hope more arrive soon.
    bonnie in provence

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  2. Interesting photos! Your first bee looks a little like Andrena flavipes but I cant see all the details on the photo . I think you have flavipes in your grden? The second one looks like Andrena scotica but a few more photos might help. I agree with B.pratorum.

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