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Cuckoo Bee Notes

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Hi all,

I thought it might be time to see if anyone wants to post notes about Cuckoo Bees, so have set up this separate thread.

Clive

     
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At 11:00 am on 15th June, I spotted a huge B. rupestris female (queen) sitting on a Chive flower at my wife’s allotment site.

It had been raining and she was drying off.
I managed to get a few photos, and went back home for a better camera, only to see her fly off when I got back ! (before I could get any more photos).
I’ll post one or two of these photos here later, but need to download them first.

There are many B. lapidarius workers visiting these Chive flowers at that time - and since.
B. rupestris is a cuckoo predating B. lapidarius, so I wonder if she might have been trying to spot where they were flying back home ???

I’ve only seen B. rupestris a few times.  They’ve always been on the Chive flowers.  They look both HUGE and menacing to me.

Any comments anyone ?

Clive

     
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Hi Clive,
I photographed a bee in my garden today which I thought might be a Bombus rupestris until I looked it up and found I was wrong yet again as it is a southern species and not found in the north west!

I had thought cuckoo bee because it was so huge I spotted it from right across the garden,  it’s wings were very dark also the red tail was rather darker than the red-tailed queens I have seen before and after studying it’s legs (well what else would I be doing on a Monday afternoon)  I thought they were quite hairy so I certainly look forward to seeing your photos for comparison and education!

Kind regards,  Carol

 

     

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Hi Carol,
I think that your i/d is correct.  Who said it is a southern species - why not further north as well?  How far north are you? We get them in VC55.  Is she foraging bistort?
urbanbumble

     
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Hi Urbanbumble,

Thank you very much for your interesting comment,  I’d love to think I’d finally managed a correct ID!

However it says Red-tailed cuckoo bee is a southern species on my BBCT guide and also on this website if you look under About bees then Less common,  there is a distribution map showing only the south and I live in Cumbria.

Yes it is Polygonum bistorta ‘Superbum’  the red-tailed bees especially seem to love it.

best regards,  Carol

     
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Hi Urbanbumble and Carol,

The photo looks like B. rupestris to me too.
Sorry to be so thick, but where roughly in the UK is VC55 ?  ( I presume it is a recording Vice County!)

The Field Guide (Edwards & Jenner) says that the species is moving northwards.

I have attached a photo of a B. rupestris on Chives, taken in May 2009.
(The more recent photo is still on the camera memory card.)

Clive

     

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Hello Clive,
Thank you for posting your photo and for the inf0,  yes it certainly does look the same to me too.  I probably should have originally posted this in the ID section but as you and Urbanbumble both agree on B. rupestris,  out of interest I’ll try and draw it to the attention of a BBCT officer and ask for their comment regarding distribution.
Regards,  Carol