Yesterday I took a walk about in the park near my house and managed to get some surprisingly focused (for me) shots of bees on flowers.
I think these two were Buff Tailed bumbles. The similar looking White Tailed bumble bee is said to have more lemony coloured stripes, whereas the Buff Tailed has more golden lines. If anyone thinks differently please say!
The wild roses are coming to an end now. The blackberries above have come out to replace them. Also popping their heads up are the glamorous poppies:
This one looked almost more like a garden poppy, but we also saw the smaller red field poppies. Field poppies only produce pollen, with no nectar. Bees are said to seek the pollen out as it is for some reason extremely attractive to them, perhaps because the poppies produce it in enormous quantities. Bees returning home with it cannot be missed as it appears quite black, but is actually a very dark purply blue on examination.
Poppies are quite an interesting flower because usually bee pollinated flowers are not red, as bees are red colour blind and see red as black. However, some red flowers such as poppies contain pigments that reflect UV light, attracting bees and appearing to them as bee ultra-violet. I didn’t see any bees on the poppies; possibly because I was walking at 4pm, whereas poppy flowers open between 5-6am and have often completed their lives by midday.
This pink flower was being visited by the bees, but too fast for me to get a photo. Any ideas on a name for this? The nectar lines guiding the bees in can clearly be seen.
EDIT: The pink flower has been identified by Chelsea in her comment below as a Lavatera or alternatively by Nigel as a Wild Mallow.
Elderflowers are blooming in spectacular numbers. Here are a couple of bumbles enjoying them.
Buff tails again I think. With the drifts of elderflowers came our first sightings of honey bees. Whereas bumbles are happy to feed from small groups of flowers, honey bees don’t get out of bed for anything less than a big clump.
Elderflower isn’t listed as an important flower in my bee books, and from what I can find online it’s not very popular with the bees, so maybe this honey bee was struggling to find better forage available? With a hot spring the June gap may have come early.