Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The ivy mining bees


I went to have another look at the bees down at the allotment today. You may remember I mentioned that they've taken over an entire plot. They are flying very low over the ground, and have been painstakingly excavating holes.


Most of the ones here are males, who don't sting. The females are unlikely to sting unless squashed. They're small bees, and I assume they've been enjoying the ivy that's blooming in the hedge along the allotment site boundary.


Apparently they are fairly new to the UK, having arrived only a few years ago. They are flourishing while other bees are in decline. And happily they don't harm our native bees.

I found a couple of them struggling in a water trough. I fished them out and put them in the sun to dry. One of them was off flying almost at once and didn't seem waterlogged at all.


I'm hopeful that the allotment folk will respect them and let them have these few weeks in the sun.


Many thanks to CT for educating me in the ways of the ivy mining bees.

21 comments:

  1. We saw mining bees for the first time earlier this year. We were having a picnic on the edge of a field and there they were in their little holes. It's good to know that one type of bee is flourishing here. Well done for rescuing the drowning ones. xx

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  2. I always enjoy seeing and stumbling upon wildlife in action. It's a shame more (young) people don't explore their environment looking for these things as I did as a kid. Unfortunately most people now feel they have to "go somewhere" like a zoo, like a wildlife trust, to see wildlife when often these things are right under our noses. I think you understand the environment and nature better when you see these things in context of where you live.

    Thanks for sharing the photos

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  3. Good on you for highlighting these little chaps. It's a little known fact that male bees of all species don't sting (they don't have a stinging mechanism) and the females (of whom there are far fewer) only sting if their life is under immediate threat. It is perfectly possible to handle bees gently and not get stung. Bumblebees have a lengthy warning you off process they all do when handled which consists of sticking a foreleg in the air first, then showing you their sting. I've yet to have one go the while hog and use the sting even after the warning signs because it's the last thing they really want to do. They sort of give up after showing you the sting as if conceding you've called their bluff. Well done on the rescue too. They'll have gone to the trough to drink. If you put a couple of sticks in it sticking upwards out of the water they'll have something to climb out on. Hooray for ivy mining bees and for people like you who care enough to find out more about them and help educate folks about these lovely and harmless little creatures xx

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  4. An interesting post and good pictures. Well done on rescuing a couple of them. Flighty xx

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  5. What a wonderful post, I have never come across mining bees before so it was great to learn a little about them. Well done on the rescue.

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  6. I had no idea that male bees don't sting. I have also never noticed miner bees here, or anywhere. Not sure if this is because there aren't any, or because I am not that observant. Always happy to learn! x

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  7. Adorable - thanks for the fabulous pictures of one of our most important insects. Bee-autiful!

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  8. Lovely photos and I'm glad you were able to save a couple too.

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  9. Brilliant and fascinating. Thank you for enlightening me :-) x

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  10. Lovely. Strange that they are all males as usually bee communities are mostly female

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  11. I hope they are good bees. The whole bee community is in distress, I think and if we lose them it will be dire consequences to our earth. We have some ground digger wasps here that are mean and sting people badly. I was hoping they weren't the same thing as ours. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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    1. They're definitely good bees! CJ xx

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  12. Hey CJ,
    I have these living in the verge down the drive!!! I wondered what they were. You've captured some gorgeous photos. They don't keep still for very long I've noticed. It's so nice to see something thriving rather than struggling, don;t you think? Have a lovely weekend.
    Leanne xx

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  13. I like this story about bees, so many of them are in such a bad state, what will happen to all our plants, then animals and then humans if they are wiped out?
    Meredith

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  14. Great photos dear C.J., those bees are really cute and fluffy. I have not seen any in my garden but we have quite a large species of native bees in our country. I have many small black native bees in my garden who don't sting as well as honey bees. They just love the blossoms on my Hawthorne bush at present, lots of buzzing and a strong fragrance of nectar.
    xoxoxo. ♡

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  15. Thanks for this, I've never heard of them. Good to hear something in the natural world is flourishing. It's usually all doom and gloom, sadly.

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  16. Hi CJ, I'm trying to get caught up. I've missed so much on blogs lately and now my blogroll has disappeared from my sidebar and I can't even see when new posts are published. It's always something. Anyway, these bees are interesting. We've had a lot of problems with bees over here. I've even read that the mosquito spray they're using for Zika has been killing bees too. I'm really glad to know that the mining bees are healthy and productive!

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  17. This is a good news bee story. They're good bees, and they're thriving. Things like this never seem to happen anymore in nature.

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  18. I've spent a lovely few minutes reading through your last few posts. The axe question made me giggle. I expect the question was asked earnestly and in all seriousness which all little boys are very good at. Mike has always wanted a chainsaw and I often catch him stroking them with a wistful look in his eyes. I've agreed to him having one but only when the house is finished - the house never will be! Excitingly I think we have ivy mining bees here, I was watching them yesterday on the ivy, I shall investigate further later on today x

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  19. Wonderful pictures of the ivy mining bees. I'm so glad you were able to watch and capture their antic and share it with us. I'm also so glad I'm not the only one that has struggled to read other bloggers posts over the last few weeks. Sarah x

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  20. beautiful photos....i'm such an admirer of bees, i think they're lovely little creatures who are beleaguered by some very bad public relations. yay for bee-heroes such as yourself and CT....champions for the bee-cause. :P xo

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