Day 179: not a bee

Daily details from the garden to bring you inspiration throughout the year

I have a childlike fascination with bumblebees. It’s the furriness – and the stripes and the continual bumping into flowers – what could be more endearing? So it’s always worth taking a pause to savour the moment when a bumble comes in to land on a flower beside where you’re at work in the garden, and when a creature used a knautia bloom by my head as a landing pad yesterday, I sat back to admire. And was greeted by the sight of a rather mangey looking red-tailed bee – not very fluffy at all, at least the end it displayed to me at first (its back end, most impolite). It wasn’t till I saw the face that I was pretty sure this was something different. My...what big eyes you have!

So, when is a bee not a bee? Well, quite often – when it’s a hoverfly. Volucella bombylans is quite large for a hoverfly, and possibly slightly smaller than the Bombus lapidarius (the red-tailed bumblebee) it was impersonating. Well, I suppose it’s still doing a decent job of pollinating. But I’d rather have a bee for company, any day.


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Hello! I’m Andrew, gardener, writer, photographer, and owner of a too-loud laugh, and I’m so pleased you’ve found your way to Gardens, weeds & words. You can read a more in-depth profile of me on the About page, or by clicking this image.

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