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Green Rosie

Bees in my polytunnel -a mystery

I added this to the blog post but in case bee keepers don't venture over there I'll add it here too. I have a few hundred bees in my polytunnel and I have no idea why - can anyone shed any light on this mystery? http://eco-gites.blogspot.fr/2016/10/bees-in-polytunnel.html
Treacodactyl

The pic of a 'bee' on a leaf isn't a bee, looks more like a hover fly. The bees on the metal tube look slightly more pointy than I'd expect for honey bees, but to me they look the same as the one on the marigold flower. Is there any sugar or sap on the rail, perhaps they've found something sweet?
Green Rosie

An Irish bee keeper has just tweeted that my honey bee is in fact a hover fly so I'll edit the blog. I think it could be Eristalis pertinax. The beekeeper also suggested the bees may have come in to get condensation or honeydew from aphids but there are no aphids in there and there are as many bees elsewhere as on the tube and they don't appear to be drinking anything - they are either flying around, feeding on the marigolds or bashing into the plastic. Would you think they are more likely to me drones licked out of the colony, rather than female worker bees? The Irish beekeeper also said this: bees w orange bands are cross of western & Italian honeybee subspecies & colonies may have mix of brown & brown/orange bees.
Treacodactyl

They don't look like drones to me, drones tend to be bigger, plumper and rounder. They also sound different, deeper more lazy sound. I've not seen any drones about for a few weeks now so unless you're much warmer I doubt they're drones.
Green Rosie

We are possibly warmer than you (well until today) with daytime temps in the high teens/low twenties but frosts this week at night. I will bow to your greater knowledge about drones!
dpack

iirc hoverflies come in various sorts ,some drink nectar, some eat pests (perhaps some do both ) both sorts do far more good than they get credit for.
Treacodactyl

They're ivy bees....... Possibly. Laughing

OH thinks they are ivy bees and, on looking them up, they hatch about now and are only active for a month or two. Worth looking them up.
Green Rosie

I think you might be right - thank you and I'll do a bit more research to try and find out how they ended up in my polytunnel ... although a quick search seems to indicate they shouldn't sting me Very Happy
Green Rosie

Poof - and now they are all gone ...
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