02 June 2012 11:50 AM
Yesterday 1st June, this bee landed on a toy car in our garden. I had a closer look to see what was going on and discovered that the bee was trying to remove a mite which it obviously knew was there. The mite kept moving out of reach whenever the foreleg got close. The bee gave up and flew of after a couple of minutes. On closer examination of the first picture I took it looks like there may be more mites on the bee’s back. On re-examination of my photos from the last couple of years it is disturbing to to see how many bees are carrying mites.
02 June 2012 01:28 PM #1
These are fantastic photographs! May we use them in future publications (e.g. our newsletter, website etc)? We would credit you as photographer, naturally.
These mites do not harm the bees, although they must be an irritation. This type of mite simply hitch-hikes, trying to find its way into the bottom of a bumblebee nest, where it will feed on bits and bobs, leftovers etc.
Occasionally you see one that is so laden it seems certain that this must be affecting the bee’s ability to fly. If you are keen to help, you can often persuade the mites off with a small artists paintbrush. We have heard that dunking the bee under the surface of some water causes the mites to ‘abandon ship’, although this is not something that we have tried or would recommend.
03 June 2012 03:07 PM #2
Happy for photographs to be used. Good to hear that this mite does no real harm. It is uncomfortable to see a bee laden with “passengers” JohnF
08 June 2012 10:11 AM #3
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