Firstly, let’s big it up for Twitter. I have been going through a rather barren patch in my blog writing recently. In fact, it’s been more barren than a really sandy bit of the Sahara, during a sandstorm. So, I took the bull by the horns and announced on Twitter ( I am Spuddrs in case you want to follow my tweets – usually about Somerset Cricket, and a bit about wildlife) that I would be blogging tonight – and here I am, blogging. As it happens I’m not tied to a promise I made through some digital media. I really do have something to blog about. Bees.
Yep, Bees. Not just any bee though. These bees didn’t even exist until 1993. I guess that’s technically a howler as they obviously did exist, however they were only discovered and declared new to science in that year. Less than a decade later and they were found in Dorset. Worth Matravers to be precise. I’ll bet they were there all along. If only I had noticed them before 1993 and found a new species – I could have called them Spudders Bees!
No matter. I didn’t find them then so let’s move on. I did however find them this week on Upton Heath. They are called Ivy Bees. It’s probably related to the fact that they are often found on flowering ivy at this time of the year, rather than that some lady called Ivy found them?
I didn’t find them on ivy. Oh no. I went for the big time. I found a whole colony (or aggregation) of them! They dig holes to lay their eggs in, and I noticed a bank on the heath that had more holes than a colander of the equivalent size.
Closer inspection revealed that the bees using the holes were similar to honey bees, with closer bands across the abdomen and a rather furry, almost ginger coloured thorax.
I stood there for quite some time marvelling at their antics. Lots of coming and going, always busy – and every now and then a bit of a stand off as one bee tried to go into a hole that was already occupied.
I have read that they do sting, but I don’t think it’s very often – I was right in amongst them and felt totally safe.
Leaving them to their busy ways, or should that be buzzy ways? (groan!), I headed off, delighted to find a young sand lizard. One of this years hatchlings, it was grabbing some warmth from the last few rays of the day.
Me? I was off home, to inform my Twitter crew that I was now ready to blog!