Monday, May 6, 2013


I have spent some time today trying to get photos of insects in the garden.  I have been experimenting with using an extension tube in conjunction with my Olympus SLR and my 70-300mm zoom.  This has started to give some half decent results but it is quite a bulky set-up.

We have lots of small mining-bees in the garden which I have never identified to species before.  I am happy that this one is a Tawny mining-bee.  It was sunning itself in the hedge.

Tawny mining-bee Andrena fulva

However the main colony of bees have their nest entrances around some loosely laid slabs near the house, and these are a different species which I think are Yellow-legged mining-bees Andrena flavipes.

Yellow-legged mining-bee Andrena flavipes

If this is correct then the cuckoo bees which I saw disappearing down the nest holes would be Nomada fucata.

Nomada fucata, a cuckoo bee

Other insects picked up today included Orange-tip, Red-tailed bumblebee, 7-spot ladybird, Broad-bordered bee-fly and a couple of hoverflies.

I think these are Syrphus ribesii and Eupeodes corolla  but would welcome any corrections.

The first house martins of the year, and a couple of new plants bring my total to 143.


  1. Hi Marilyn. Good work. I'm finding the bees a challenge too. I think you're right with Andrena fulva, but I don't think the second one is flavipes - I don't think the pale bands on the abdomen are clearly defined enough. I don't know which it is though (but clearly this may affect your Nomada identification too). I'm making heavy use of a combination of the BWARS website alongside a good county status review that was published in the Norfolk & Norwich Naturalists Society journal recently.

    The 1st hover looks like a male Syrphus but identification to species from a photo is (as far as I'm aware) not possible? Female (eyes separate) ribesii/vitripennis separated on pattern on the legs, males (eyes touching) ideally you need to look at wings under a microscope.

    I suspect the corollae is correct though.

  2. Thanks Andy. I think the flavipes (?) in the photo was a rather knocked about specimen, it was just crawling about in the grass. I caught a much livelier one later which I was able to have a good look at and it definitely had the yellow hairs on the hind legs, so I am happy I have seen the species. I will look again to make sure which ones are going down the holes!

    As for the hoverflies, I think I need to buy the book!