Mid Wales Bees and Wasps
Updated: Sep 13, 2021
Photograph: Donna Chapman, Cwmdauddwr. Queen Buff-tailed bumblebee, Bombus terrestris
There are plenty of male bumblebees around at the moment and the male White-tailed, Bombus lucorum males are so beautiful. With very yellow bands and yellow fluffy faces, these are quite easy to identify in the field. Of course, the bumblebee colonies are coming to an end and I have had a few concerned reports of dead bumblebees. It's just the natural process. New, big queens are also on the wing, feeding up before overwintering underground (mostly). The next generation for spring 2022.
Photos: David Bean, Cwmdauddwr - White-tailed males, Bombus lucorum
There are some Hornets nesting in my garden at the moment and they were busy cruising around at the weekend, hunting insects. One Red Admiral was taken and I observed it having its wings removed, before the Hornet flew with it to the nest (in a bird box).
This photograph above is of a hoverfly that mimics a Hornet, called Volucella zonaria. There is another similar species as well, but its patterning is slightly different. Photo: Donna Chapman, Cwmdauddwr, Radnorshire.
The photos above were taken recently by Keith Noble in the Brecon area. Top left and middle are Lasioglossum albipes/calceatum. Difficult to separate without a very good close look, this species is typically found from late summer into the autumn. This Nomada species on the right seems quite late, although some species will have two, possibly three broods throughout the year.
The images above were sent to me from Anne Belgrave in Presteigne. They clearly show the Leaf-cutter species carrying its leaf and the condition of the leaves that it has used to make its nest chamber with. Often, the Leaf-cutters will take pieces from rose leaves, as is the case here.
Coelioxys species: Richard Knight
This 'sharp-tailed bee, Coelioxys species, was recorded by Richard Knight from his garden in Radnorshire. There are 7 species found in the UK and they are cleptoparasites of Hairy-footed Flower bees and Leaf-cutter species.
I have seen them around the bee hotels in my garden (probably looking for Leaf-cutter nests). Usually they need to be examined closely to identify properly, but I suspect that this is Coelioxys inermis.
The females will use the tip of the abdomen to pierce the cell of the host to lay their eggs within.
Bumblebees a plenty today.
Megachile ligneseca Bombus bohemicus/vestalis Photos: Keith Noble, Breconshire
The leaf cutter Megachile ligneseca above, was recorded by keith, and it was apparently using timber as its nest site. This is quite common and I have often seen them using old fence posts.
The bumblebees above are most likely cuckoo species, B. bohemicus or vestalis. It is difficult to get any nearer to an ID, but it is apparent that they are cuckoo species by the general sparseness of the hairs and the overall appearance. They look too large to be male B. terrestris/lucorum but a closer look would clinch it. These bumblebees will require very close scrutiny to ID for certain.