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London, United Kingdom
This blog will contain pictures and information from my everyday encounters with nature in London and the surrounding areas. I will log details of the origin of each photograph thus recording what there is to be seen and where it was seen. I very much welcome anyone else who can upload photos and information about nature in London and the home counties. I work freelance in the film industry so have plenty of days off. I hope to update Monday to Friday and once on the weekend posting at around 19.30, I don't post on bank holidays

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)

Honey Bee

Bees are a tricky subject, like a lot of insects many of the species don’t have common names so your going to need to brush off your Latin. There are a lot of species of bee found in London and the UK. My Collins guide says there are 6 different species of Bumble-bee alone, all of which may be seen in our capital. Really to make a definitive decision on what bee you are looking at it needs to be caught and examined but that is not something I want to do. Bees are a crucial part in our ecosystem and their relationship to our life is an extensive subject on which many books and films have been written and made. The decrease in bee numbers is well documented and a worry. I heard on Radio 4 ‘Farming Today’ recently that most commercially grown British tomatoes, grown in wind tunnels are pollinated by bees imported from Belgium which demonstrates part of their importance. The Honey Bee in this picture came from a hive that in Essex and were collecting nectar from a lavender bush near by. They may be confused with the Andrena species but can be identified by the cells that make up the wing. This is how most bees are catergorised along with the tongue. I haven’t been able to identify the cells on the wing but the proximity to the hive makes me almost certain it was a Honey Bees. Most bees can be distinguished from wasps by the hairiness of their legs and body and they use their sting only in defense. There are around 250 species of bee in Britain of which most are solitary apart from Bumble and Honey Bees.    

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