Bee Volcano

These curious little volcanos have been appearing on the Tennis Court lawn all summer.  Periodically they are mown away but return soon after.  Last week I took the time to crouch down and watch the occupants flit in and out.  They are the nurseries of mining bees.   There are 60 species of mining bee, I didn’t have my specs on and anyway I am sure the differences are very subtle, so that is as accurate an identification you are going to get today. It could be the Scabious Bee as we have a large patch of Sheeps Bit Scabious very close to the lawn.  Quite frankly it could be one of many. The bees I saw were very slight and long in body, like a delicate wasp.  All mining bees build side chambers off a main tunnel into each one a larva is placed with a stock of food, either pollen and nectar or paralysed insect (nice) and the chambers sealed up.  This larder will provide enough sustenance until next spring when the metamorphosed (have I made that word up?) new bee will dig its way out.  Apparently they have very weak stings so running bare foot on the lawn and more importantly practicing of handstands can still be undertaken at will.

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