Hairy Footed Flower Bee:
These are the first shots of the Hairy Footed Flower Bee that I managed to get, when I was still trying to catch up with the speed of this bee, and she was still hiding from me behind the nettles!
Above: Female, darting about around this Dead Nettle. As she became less nervous of me, she began to fly up to me and round my head while I was trying to take a photo! In photographs they resemble bumblebees, but in life they are easy to distinguish as their flight is very different. Rather than ‘bumbling’ they dart about very quickly, stopping and hovering in the air like a hoverfly rather than a bee. They also have noticably bigger eyes than other bees.
I have not see the flower bee on any other flower in my garden, and I would say that if you want to attract this bee, a dead nettle would be a good plant to have – unlike the stinging nettle this plant doesn’t sting. I like to have a few different kinds of nettles, as lots of insects like these plants, and I think they are quite pretty in their own way.
Above: The male, resting on an old plastic pot. On cooler days with some sunshine large stones or pots, or large leaves facing the sun, provide resting places for the bees, and one can often get a good shot of them while they are still.
Above: Twice in the space of a week I found the flower bee inside my house – once in the bathroom, and once in the kitchen. I was able to take her outside with a glass and paper both times, and she made a good recovery. The first time, I tried reviving her with the usual sugar and water mix, but she wasn’t interested in this, and wasn’t particularly tired. After I’d photographed her a few times she flew away. As you can see, I used a white dish to put the bee in for recovery, and this enabled me to get some fairly good shots against the contrasting background. The light was soft sunlight outside.
Above: The second time I found the flower bee in the house, she seemed more tired and may have been in the window some time. I learned from my previous experience, and from knowledge of her favourite plant. I put her on the dead nettle where after a short rest, she began feeding. I managed to get some good shots of her before she revived with the nectar and sunshine and once again became far to quick for my photography skills, as you can see!
All images ©Christine Farmer 2009-2011
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