I found my first grey hairs

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday, 10 April 2011 14:31

But they're not on me. This is the beautiful Andrena cineraria, a lovely grey and blue-black bee. We found a large colony at Iping  on Friday 8th April which might be a new record for the site. I have wanted to see this for some time and had been reading recently that it has a rare cuckoo bee associated with it. It seems that both species are expanding their ranges quite a bit. I soon spotted a Nomada which I am hoping is going to be Nomada lathburiana. As far as I can tell, this cuckoo bee is only on cineraria but cineraria has several cuckoo bees on it. My line manager has recently taken up an interest in aculeates and is helping me with the ID but I will have to wait before saying it's that species for certain. I don't have the key for Nomadas but I might have to try and get it as they fascinate me more than the host bees! It's not the best photo as everything is so active in this heat.
We also watched these spider-hunting wasps dragging their prey underground. I am fairly confident this species is Anoplius viaticus. It was a great day, Iping always has a lot to offer, we also saw an Adder, heard several Woodlark and Tree Pipit as well as the Nb moth the Horse Chestnut and lots of the Nb ground bug Rhyparochromus pini. This spring has already been pretty amazing and it's still three weeks until May!

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