Ivy Mining Bee (Colletes hederae)

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dunksargent
Posts: 235
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 2:50 pm
Location: Cambridgeshire UK

Ivy Mining Bee (Colletes hederae)

Post by dunksargent »

The Ivy Mining Bee (Colletes hederae) was first recorded in Southern Europe in 1993 and in Dorset UK in 2001 ... since when the species has spread across England and parts of Wales. I discovered a colony at Langdyke Countryside Trust's Swaddywell Nature Reserve near Peterborough , Cambridgeshire, UK on September 8 ... nesting in limestone cliff slopes and in adjacent sparsely vegetated sandy soil. In the soil are hundreds of nest holes excavated / mined by the solitary females. In the cliff slopes are small cracks and crevices where opportunist females find 'ready-made' suitable nesting habitats. The bees are usually active in the UK from late September until early November ... the last solitary bees of the season and taking advantage of later flowering ivy.

https://www.naturespot.org.uk/sites/def ... IvyBee.pdf

The Swaddywell specimens have possibly made an earlier start to their breeding season. They have not been recorded at Swaddywell previously and I'm looking forward to studying the colony during September, October and maybe November ... and hopeful of finding evidence of other insects predating e.g. wasps, and robber flies.

The following ambient light photos were taken on September 8 and September 10 using a Nikon 1 J5 / Zacuto 2.5x mag. optical finder / Nikon 1 70-300mm VR lens / Auto extension tubes ... using the 200mm to 300mm zoom range i.e. up to 810mm FF equivalent (the camera's 1" sensor equates to a 2.7x crop factor) . Camera / lens supported on a Berlebach mini wooden tripod with levelling head fitted with a Novoflex fork mount (as per illustration in viewtopic.php?f=26&t=42210&p=265740&hil ... ch#p265740 )

Swaddy-Ivy-Mining-Bee-10-Sept.jpg
Ivy Mining Bee in nest site habitat. The hundreds of solitary bee's nest holes result in piles of finely chopped excavate ... visible around this specimen

Swaddy-Ivy-Mining-Bee.jpg
Ivy Mining Bee emerging from limestone cliff slope crevice nest site.

Swaddy-Ivy-Mining-Bee-Digging-Nest-Hole-.jpg
Ivy Mining Bee digging / enlarging / repairing its existing nest hole ... note pollen on legs ... females supply larval brood cells with Ivy flower pollen.
Swaddy-Ivy-Mining-Bee-in-Habitat.jpg
Ivy Mining Bee in limestone cliff slope nest site habitat

Swaddy-Ivy-Mining-Bee-Nest-Emergance-.jpg
Ivy Mining Bee ... just emerged from limestone cliff crevice nest hole


They are fascinating creatures.



Best wishes

dunk in Peterborough UK
And now for something completely different.

MarkSturtevant
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Re: Ivy Mining Bee (Colletes hederae)

Post by MarkSturtevant »

Very good pictures of a handsome insect.
Besides predators, I suggest that you be on the look out for parasites, including kleptoparasites. These will be various insects that sneak in and lay eggs in the nest, eating the provisions and sometimes the bee larva. The parasites can be flies and even other bees species, since many solitary bees are kleptos.
Look for "suspicious" interest from other insects as one of these bees is hard at work.
Mark Sturtevant
Dept. of Still Waters

dunksargent
Posts: 235
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 2:50 pm
Location: Cambridgeshire UK

Re: Ivy Mining Bee (Colletes hederae)

Post by dunksargent »

MarkSturtevant wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 10:43 pm
Very good pictures of a handsome insect.
Besides predators, I suggest that you be on the look out for parasites, including kleptoparasites. These will be various insects that sneak in and lay eggs in the nest, eating the provisions and sometimes the bee larva. The parasites can be flies and even other bees species, since many solitary bees are kleptos.
Look for "suspicious" interest from other insects as one of these bees is hard at work.
Thank you Mark. I'm a novice as regards mining bees so have much to learn. The insects will likely be active for up to 8 weeks or more so looking forward to observing and photographing them. The rough terrain is a challenge for photography and my knees ... will likely buy some knee protectors. Wondering if there are any cuckoo bees active at this time of year in the UK?

BW

dunk
And now for something completely different.

MarkSturtevant
Posts: 949
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 6:52 pm
Location: Michigan, U.S.A.
Contact:

Re: Ivy Mining Bee (Colletes hederae)

Post by MarkSturtevant »

I don't know. Besides cuckoo bees there could be others.
I always bring knee pads when out. I was fortunate to get a couple pair at yard sales for next to nothing.
Mark Sturtevant
Dept. of Still Waters

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