Counting not Catching

We were grateful for the day off work today, thanks to the Royal Wedding of Wills and Kate and although we took time out to watch it and share in their happiness that didn't stop us on our bee quest. Some of this was planning for the Koppert Beehive we'll be getting next week (which I'll cover in another blog) and some of this was heading out to hedge our bets at catching another queen. 

The temperature was about 20 degrees but there was a breeze causing quite a windchill factor; and it seemed like a storm might  be threatening, so we weren't sure if we would see any. We are especially looking for a Carder bee; partly because they have a slightly later nesting season, but mainly because they are less fussy about the environment they nest in, so we think the box might stand a better chance with a Carder. 

However, we did see some bees while we were out - here is the full run down


  • One bufftail foraging
  • 2 carders - I tried to catch one but couldn't!
  • One redtail - may have been a cuckoo - again, I tried to catch it, but couldn't due to uneven dry ground
  • A vestal cuckoo bee (buftail) showing nest searching behaviour - we didn't even try to catch it
  • 2 unidentified bees that circled us in the field


As you can see, there are still some bees about but much smaller in number; also more cuckoo bees now trying to find nests to take over; and, of course, queens with nests out foraging as they start to lay their colony. 

We're pleased that we're starting to be able to identify cuckoo bees without having to catch them; here's the vestal cuckoo we saw in flight. You can identify here by the lack of yellow band across the top of her abdomen as well as a shinier abdomen and thinner hair coverage. 

Vestal Cuckoo in flight