27 April 2010

Bee and Wasp Day

A great day for bumblebees in the garden today with 6 true bumblebee species noted and a possible cuckoo bumblebee, photo not conclusive. The top photo courtesy of Charles Hipkin, who will add some comments under his shot.

'Bombus hortorum is a beautiful, long-tongued bumble bee which targets deep flowers, foraging for pollen and nectar. In this photograph it is probing into the deep throat of Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon), a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae). Notice the pollen baskets on the back legs, loaded with yellow pollen. It will often visit other deep-throated flowers such as white dead-nettle (Lamium album) and foxglove (Digitalis pupurea). The extraordinary tongue can be seen in Mark's photograph below.'

Also a few wasps around today, and I found that getting the all important face on shot is not as easy as it sounds. But, by using the 'take loads of shots policy' I managed a couple confirming Wood Wasp Vespula sylvetris.
Notice the yellow face, lacking the black anchor shape of the Common Wasp Vespula vulgaris and also the yellow basal segment of the antenna.

The 2 shots below show the Common Wasp Vespula vulgaris with its black anchor face and completely black antenna

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