a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

A bee with no name


Paranoid I must be, but I am beginning to think they are following me.  The bees that is.

Bee with no name

I posted on my Dasypoda hirtipes in my garden yesterday and raved about her “pantaloons” and today I go for a walk and meet another well-endowed bee.

Centaurea cyanus

I don’t think she is the same species but she is indeed gathering pollen or nectar from Centaurea cyanus which is in the Asteraceae family.


She is certainly a well-endowed bee on the hairy hind leg side.  Her white pantloons give her a different look from the yellow ones I am used to seeing.  Dasypoda hirtipes has an attractive ginger brown natural colouration to her hind leg hairs.  I wonder if she could cover all that up with a mass of white pollen?

Author: afrenchgarden

Born in Scotland I have lived in England, Iran, USA and Greece. The house and land was bought twelve years ago in fulfilment of the dream of living in France that my Francophile husband nurtured. We had spent frequent holidays in France touring the more northerly parts and enjoying the food, scenery, architecture and of course gardens. However, we felt that to retire in France and enjoy a more clement climate than we currently had in Aberdeen we would need to find somewhere south of the river Loire but not too south to make returning to visit the UK onerous. The year 2000 saw us buying our house and setting it up to receive us and the family on holidays. The garden was more a field and we were helped by my son to remove the fencing that had separated the previous owners’ goats, sheep and chickens. We did inherit some lovely old trees and decided to plant more fruit trees that would survive and mature with the minimum of care until we took up permanent residence. The move took place in 2006 and the love hate relation with the “garden” started. There was so much to do in the house that there was little energy left for the hard tasks in the garden. It was very much a slow process and a steep learning curve. Expenditures have been kept to a minimum. The majority of the plants have been cuttings and I try to gather seeds wherever I can. The fruit trees have all been bought but we have tender hearts and cannot resist the little unloved shrub at a discount price and take it as a matter of honour to nurse it back to health. This year I have launched my Blog hoping to reach out to other gardeners in other countries. My aim is to make a garden for people to enjoy, providing shady and sunny spots with plants that enjoy living in this area with its limestone based subsoil and low rainfall in a warm summer. Exchanging ideas and exploring mutual problems will enrich my experience trying to form my French garden.

25 thoughts on “A bee with no name

  1. Love these recent “bee posts” of yours… some of the pix are truly wonderful… the “all-yellow” bee in the last post bee-ing but one… but surely it could be the same species… white pollen creating a different fashion in pantaloons?

    I’m just about to post some lovely solitary bee evidence on Aigronne Valley Wildlife [it’ll be up there by morning… the Perseid Meteor Shower beckons… so I’m of to join Pauline and get bitten to death!]


  2. OMG just LOOK at those crazy-full POLLENPANTS!!


  3. I had a friend who used to describe her legs as “thunder thighs”. I think this bee has her beat!

    Lovely photos of an impressive haul.


  4. I have a lot of trouble identifying bees and wasps. I’m glad that you don’t!


  5. All sorts of things crossed my mind when I read the title of this post . . . the ones I want to share are:

    So, it’s not to bee,

    They’ll make a spaghetti Western about it.

    Who could it bee now?

    Anyway, that is one interesting bee. I don’t see that many variations out here, but then I am not out there looking a whole lot.


  6. Amazing, the pollen looks like cotton wool.


  7. I think it’s probably D. altercator. Check out this photo from Le Monde des Insectes galerie. This is a site I would trust for IDs as they are very concientious and have some real experts on the forum.

    Like yours the bee has been collecting from a flower with white pollen. I think that combined with the specimen having naturally rather pale or dull hairs might give you the white pantalons from time to time.


    • Altercator is used as well as hirtipes for the same bee. There are other Dasypoda in France but I can’t see any that fit exactly. The ones in the garden have a discontinuous white line on their abdomen which is probably significant but I do not have a good key for Dasypoda. Just seen the link you sent me – a great pic and the first I have seen with seemingly white pollen sacs. I think you have solved it – most likely D. hirtipes/altercator.


  8. I so enjoy your bees, you must be very patient getting the images, they are always too fast for me to get any really good shots.


  9. I’m amazed she can fly with that load! Lovely photos of her!


  10. Nice thought to be followed by a bee 😉


  11. Shouldn’t the pollen be a bit yellower? Or are those little furry white breeks extra thick? (Look like a pair of pussy willow catkins to me…)


    • Her actual hairs are golden coloured, but Susan has sent me a photograph of the Abeille à culottes with white breeks so it looks like she gathers so much pollen that her legs take on the colour of the pollen she is gathering. This is frequently from the dandelion family so you see a lot of photographs of her with bright yellow breeks.


  12. It’s a Tetralonia most probably dentata, on its favorite plant.


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