My mini meadow – a paradise for solitary bees and bumblebees

While writing this blog, the sun is shining and it’s a perfect start of the day. The neighbours are quiet still and there is just me and birds and bees. Moments of pleasure!

I take a cup of tea and walk through the garden and it amazes me to see how much can be done on a very small piece of land in an urban area.

Here is a picture of the wildflowers in my garden which are flowering nowwildlfowers in July2

There is Meadow cranesbill, Greater knapweed, Common knapweed, Rampion bellflower, Dark mullein.

I also grow Tansy which is an important foodplant for Colletes bees and a small bee called Heriades truncorum, of which tens maybe even a hundred nest in my garden.

The Campanulas are such lovely plants and if you are lucky you will get the specialist the harebell carpenter-bees in your garden. They are tiny, little bigger than ants and people would be surprised to hear that they are bees. Chelostoma campanularum

Can you see the tiny bee inside the flower? The females are said to exclusively feed their young pollen of Campanula plants. They are called oligolectic bees.

Pollen is needed to raise their young. Pollen of the Scrophulariaceae family to which Dark mullein belongs, is important for bumblebees to raise their young. You can see the orange pollen basket on the bee’s hind legs. Bumblebee on Verbascum nigrum

I noticed a bumblebee gathering pollen on Viper’s bugloss, another bee magnet. The colour of that pollen is dark blue, almost grey. Bumblebee with blue greyish pollen

Heriades truncorum is similar to the harebell carpenter bee. Here is one sitting on my fingertip. Heriades truncorum

Dasypoda hirtipes is a very beautiful solitary bee indeed. Quote from Bwars: “The female of this species is one of the more attractive and distinctive bees which occur in Britain, the extremely long, golden pollen-collecting hairs on the hind tibiae being particularly notable”. Dasypoda hirtipes- Pluimvoetbij

For further reading please go to the following website http://www.bwars.com/index.php?q=bee/melittidae/dasypoda-hirtipes

About mybiodiversitygarden

Trying to raise awareness & share information about ecology and biodiversity and what gardeners can do to attract more wildlife
This entry was posted in Bees, Biodiversity, biodiversity, butterflies, Gardening, Nature, pollination, wild flowers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to My mini meadow – a paradise for solitary bees and bumblebees

  1. linsepatron says:

    Your meadow looks lovely. Actually, it looks just like mine, so of course I think so😉
    Just out of curiosity – how big is your “mini meadow”? The meadow part of my garden is only 5 by 8 meters, and I don’t think I can squeeze enough plants in there to make it worthwhile for the oligolectic bees – the polylectic bees seem quite happy with it though. Do you know how large a number of plants of one type is needed to sustain the oligolectic bees? I’m guessing they are harder to attract, especially in urban areas where the distance to other plants of the right species may be too great.

    • I can recommend the site of bwars to see if you have any chance of getting this beautiful bee http://www.bwars.com/index.php?q=bee/andrenidae/andrena-hattorfiana.
      Bees of Surrey is a good book, you may want to have a look on the internet. There are not that many good books on bees in English that I am aware of. Please do let me know if I can be of any further help and wishing you a lot of fun with this interesting hobby!

      • linsepatron says:

        Thanks for the link and the book recommendation. Very helpful indeed. BWARS never showed up in my own searches. From the look of it that is a really great resource, with the most extensive species list with good ID photos I’ve yet seen online (a site like Encyclopedia of Life often have no or not very good photos). Most sites only show the more common species, have only the barest of information, and I’m way too nerdy for that🙂. Thanks again.

  2. Thank you for the comment. Well, my mini-meadow is a bit strange as one part if about 5 x 5 but then it continues alongside the borders of the garden where i planted the hedges. Bees do need quite a bit of flowers too but that also depends on the competition (honeybees, bumblebees) but i really do not like the word competition. For example, the rare Andrena hattorfiana needs 8 flower heads of the Knautia arvensis to feed one larva; Melitta haemorrhoidalis (google this one🙂 needs 165 flowers of harebell to raise one young. However, I see my garden as an addition and given the fact that many species do thrive, i must do something right.

  3. linsepatron says:

    Thanks for answering, that is some very interesting facts. I am hoping against the odds that one day I may see Andrena hattorfiana in my garden. I have quite a lot of Knautia arvensis, both in the wild blue form and as a red-flowered cultivar. I live near a public park partly kept as wild meadow/grassland, and there are also a lot of wild Knautia arvensis there, so there is a chance that this Andrena bee might be in the neighbourhood.
    Can you recommend any books on wild bees in Northern Europe in English? I’m having a hard time identifying the bees other than bumblebees, and I’d love to learn more of their behaviour and needs, to make the garden better for them.

  4. Mirta says:

    I am truly pleased to glance at this website posts which contains plenty of useful facts, thanks for providing such information.

  5. I like to use the photo oft heriades truncorum on the fingertip for my book, which is called: Das Wildpflanzen-Topfbuch. Is this possible? What are your conditions. You will get a free Copy. Here you may have a look on my webseite: http://www.reinhard-witt.de.

    You can send the foto to may emailadress. And I need your adress for the free copy…..

    Thanks a lot

    reinhard witt

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