Monday, 14 March 2016

Early Spring Insects

The last few days have really felt like spring.   Up until now though the only insects have been a few winter gnats and non-biting midges, but the warmer weather encouraged some larger flying insects.  

Worker honey bees were attracted to a flowering viburnum in the garden.  The wing pattern is distinctive - but they also have hairy eyes.   Of course honey bees are not a native species; they originated from South-east Asia.

Honey Bee - Hairy Compound Eye
Honey Bee Wing
Down at the Glyme Valley reserve I caught a Common Furrow Bee, Lassioglossum calceatum, which I identified using the brilliant keys in a recent book I bought, Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland, by Falk and Lewington, covering the 275 bees found in the UK.  Absolutely essential so I am well set to identify pollinators whether bee, fly or moth.  

At first glance, the Common Furrow Bee is not dissimilar to Hoverflies and it only becomes obvious that it is a bee on seeing the second pair of wings.   They nest underground; queen bees overwinter.

Common Furrow Bee
Common Furrow Bee Wing
Common Furrow Bee Face
Common Furrow Bee on Dandelion

Then on Sunday night I put the moth trap out in the garden for three hours and caught 6 moths, 5 species:

Clouded Drab

Small Quaker
Common Quaker
Hebrew Character

Finally, retaining the insect theme, on a road verge near our house there is a small patch of Comfrey -  but given the number of caterpillars of Scarlet Tiger Moth, there will not be much of it left to flower.

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