Who lives here?

A message and pictures from Julie, regular park-user:

Saw these little mini molehill type structures on the path next to the pond. Under the ones already disturbed there is a little hole. It’s possibly ants or something but thought I’d send them in anyway. Do you know what made them?

We forwarded the pictures to Ian, our invertebrates expert, who replied:

Good morning,

Yes, I had noticed these on the hard path in Lambrok Meadow as well. They are made by Mining Bees of the
Andrena genus. There are some 67 species of this mining [soil-nesting] bee, varying in size but otherwise all quite similar. 

All are solitary. The female chooses a suitable bit of ground and digs out a nest chamber, adding pollen and possibly nectar before laying a solitary egg. She seals that chamber and moves on to the next one.  Where the ground is good you may well find a bit of a colony.

A colony of mining bee nests by the pond; a tawny mining bee (Andrena fulva)

Quite likely these are the nests of the Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena fulva) a common spring-flying bee from March to June. It loves flower rich sites and is often found on short turf [I have them in my front lawn] and they are readily identified by leaving behind volcano-like spoil heaps.

Ian

Please do send us pictures of the mysteries you find in the park; if we don’t know what they are, we will probably know somebody who does. The more we find out about the park’s biodiversity, the better we can protect it.

The header picture was taken in the park by Julie Newblé


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