Thursday, 30 June 2016

Beetles, bees, and wasps doing home expansions

Today I spent a little while in my garden to see what wildlife I could find. Our wildlife garden is really coming on now, and we have a beautiful pond. I'm rather proud of our garden, as though it is small, it is both nice to look at (at least in our eyes) and rich in wildlife.

Today I found a small solitary bee that I didn't recognise, so I got my FSC Guide to Bees of Britain out to try and find out what species it was. It turns out that it was a leaf-cutter bee, which we have found in our garden several times before. These bees cut discs out of leaves, which they use to make little cells for the larvae to grow up in, sticking the discs together with their saliva. On previous years we have found semi-circles cut out of leaves in our garden, the culprit being the leaf-cutter bee.
 Another insect that I found in our garden today was a small beetle called Lagria hirta. If you find one of these beetles, they may at first-glance appear mundane, but if you take a closer look at them then you will soon see how beautiful they are. They have a black thorax and head, with a brown-yellow abdomen, which is flecked with lovely, fuzzy hairs. In the sun, the hairs can look golden, making the beetle look like it is surrounded by a gold halo of light! That is what drew my attention to this beetle today. This species feeds on pollen and nectar as an adult, however, the burrowing larvae eat decaying matter. Lagria hirta is a common sight in our garden at this time of year.

 Above you can see the L. hirta that I caught. Sorry about the poor quality of the image, I was using my tablet, which does not have a very good camera.

By Hectonichus - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Above you can see a much better image that I found on the Internet.

I also took a look in the shed today to take a peek at the wasp nest (see here). I knew that it would probably get bigger with time, but not so quickly! It is now at least half as big again, so the wasps must have been hard at work expanding their home. I'd love to know where they get all the wood pulp to make their nest with - there is a rotting log at the back of the garden, perhaps they are getting it from there? Though, on further research it seems that they don't even need the wood to be rotting to collect it - they can simply scrape it off of wooden fences. In that case, they could be getting wood from the shed, the fence, the trees, and/or the log.

The mammal pelvis from my previous blog post is still a mystery. A few people on Twitter have retweeted my question, so hopefully it'll get around and someone will be able to give me an answer. Someone also suggested taking the bone to the local vets to see if they can identify it for me. Anyway, fingers crossed that soon I'll be able to find out who the owner of this pelvis was.

Until next time, keep on the wild side!

No comments:

Post a Comment