Je t’accuse!

je t accuse

Je t’accuse!

yes you

Yes, you!

Put it back!

That’s not your bit of grit.  Another bee laboured long and hard to seal up that bamboo tube so it would keep their offspring safe through the cold winter and safely into next summer.

Pollen out

And you!

You are supposed to go and find pollen to take back to your hole – not take it out of someone else’s.

Action in the bamboo tubes

I have been watching my bee hotels lately and was pleased to see lots of little black bees with yellow scopa – a new species for me and my bee hotels!

stop or i will put you back in fridge (2)

Stand still or I will put you back in the fridge!

My new arrivals have some different behavioural traits that we don’t associate with the hard working industrious bee.

I think they are Heriades truncorum and although they look quite cute and are only about 7 mm. long they are of a dubious, moral character.

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43 thoughts on “Je t’accuse!

  1. Aha! These look like the ones that are all over the Ice Plant and Hemp Agrimony flowers at the moment….
    I drilled some 6mm holes in one of my blocks and they get filled at around the end of August.
    If these little marvels are still around once I’ve finished harvesting the spuds, I’ll take a closer look at the block.

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  2. Keep an eye out for Grass-carrying Wasp Isodonta mexicana too. They are introduced but not invasive. I get a lot of them using the bee hotels in the orchard at this time of year. They are a quite large entirely black wasp, often seen carrying dry grass to stuff in their nest hole, which is stocked with paralysed caterpillars.

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    • I do try and keep an eye on anything that flies near the hotels but I’ve never seen any of the black wasps. Last year I saw gasteruption jaculator which did not surprise me to much as I always see it on the fennel. I also get Cacoxenus indagator and at the moment I have spotted a suspect little black fly but I have not identified this yet. Would the Wasp do any harm? I just let some potter-type wasps use the nests as they seem to cohabit happily with the bees. Amelia

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      • No they won’t do any harm, except to the caterpillars. In my bee hotels they just occupy the vacant holes and even the spaces between canes in the ones that are made of canes rather than drilled. I suspect they catch flies too, as one of the holes was stuffed with a large sarcophagid fly. You will notice if they move in because you start getting holes which appear to be stuffed with dry grass. So far I haven’t managed to get good photos of the wasps themselves though.

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    • The family megachilidae (Megachile, Osmia and a few others) have their pollen collecting hairs under their abdomen – the scopa. Apart from making them incredibly cute it is usually easier to tell the males (who don’t have the hairs) from the females which helps ID. I put the bee into the fridge to cool it down and stop it moving so I could take a close-up picture and measure it. I don’t take too long and it does not harm them. I was a bit upset that these ones upset the life of the bee hotel so I was pretending I would punish it if it moved. Amelia

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    • Bees mandibles really are incredible when you think all the things that they can do with them. I have listened to the Anthophora plumipes in our stone wall in the spring scraping out a hole and I have heard other bees doing the same thing inside the wooden bored log in the bee hotels. Amelia

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    • I think you must be thinking of honey bees as they are the first kind of bees people think about. Honey bees can be aggressive, especially if you disturb their hives. Many solitary bees do not possess stings and I do not know any that are aggressive towards humans. I have never found even honey bees being aggressive to me and I get very close to them to take photographs of them on flowers – I would not get that close to strange honey bees near their hives. You would be quite safe welcoming solitary bees like Osmia to nest in bee hotels. They are very interesting to watch and the solitary bees are great pollinators. My husband is allergic to bee stings too, but he is quite safe with the bee hotels. Amelia

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    • I am keeping my eye on them. Unfortunately, this is the first time they have used the boxes and I was not aware of this behaviour so next year I hope I can watch them more closely. I think it is very interesting. Is this how cuckoo bees have evolved? Amelia

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  3. Thank you for telling us about these interesting small bees. Are they found throughout France? They have a very restricted distribution in the UK so I won’t be seeing them down here in the west.

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    • I have seen maps saying that they have been found in 11 departments spread throughout France. They are quite small so I think they could easily be missed except by people who are really interested in them and I don’t think that will be very many :(. They do not have the appeal of bumble bees or butterflies. Amelia

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  4. Pingback: It’s still summer in September | a french garden

  5. Pingback: Confusion in the bee hotel | a french garden

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