Spiders from Mars, a stroll through the plot, beeflies and butterflies!
Date posted: Friday 24th March 2017
Haven’t been able to identify this large (almost 2cm) spider that appeared in one of the hollow panels of the shed window – it stayed in one place, almost immobile for 2/3 days before disappearing off! I hadn’t noticed it there previously so it can’t have been hatching out, or I would have seen it. Pale buff coloured, slightly translucent head and legs.. any ideas on identification, please let me know!
A mild week before last with temperatures rising to almost 20oC brought out this small tortoiseshell, briefly resting in my plot before flittering off:
Another visitor to the plot that day was strolling along at the back, nonchalantly picking her way past the bird feeder and camouflaging among the soft fruit bushes:
There’s been a lot of bee flies around in the past couple of weeks, impossible to get a good snap as they whizz about at top speed, hovering very briefly in the early spring flowers and much faster than bumbles.
Harmless to us but parasitical to solitary bees: “On a sunny day in March or April, you may see what looks like a furry ginger bee hovering almost motionless over a flower or a patch of bare soil. Look more closely and you will notice its needle-like proboscis sticking out in front of it. This is no bee, but a bee-fly, the teddy-bear of the fly world and an insect with a fascinating lifecycle. There are several species of bee-fly in the British Isles, but the commonest is the dark-bordered, or greater bee-fly (Bombylius major), which is easily identified by its larger size and the dark brown edges to its wings.
Unlike bees, which have four wings, bee-flies have only two that they hold out at an acute angle when they settle, like a tiny delta-wing aircraft. They sip nectar from flowers such as primroses with the long proboscis, which is held rigid in flight.
Bee-flies need bare soil in which to lay their eggs in spring, preferring sunny, sheltered spots in woods, old quarries, gardens and hedgerows.
Bee-flies are aptly named because not only do they resemble bees, but they parasitise them. The young bee-fly grub lives in the burrows of solitary bees, which often nest on sunny banks.” (bb.co.uk/earth/story)
My little spring garden under the apple tree has been scenting the whole area on warm days with the fragrance of the hyacinths – gorgeous!