Oh beautiful bees, which one are you?

bee common-carder

I don’t think it would come as much of a surprise to anyone that’s been here for a while that I love bees. They are a vital part of our garden and a vital part of our food production and I can’t sing the praises of encouraging them into your garden enough.

Last year I spent quite a lot of time trying to name species of bees that came into our garden. I didn’t make much progress.

This year armed with the macro lens I felt certain I would fare better. Hmm…

Not sure that I have. But on any sunny day you would find me out there with the camera trying to catch a bee or two. I even resorted to the tripod in the hopes of getting better shots. (You’ll be pleased to hear that the tripod didn’t make much difference – well that the story I’m going with anyway….)

I poured over the images and am finally ready to share what I think are six different bees. I say I think I have because it’s a complicated business. I used this website and a PDF found there to help with the process.

So although I am naming them as I go I am not 100% certain I’m correct! The delightful specimen at the start of this post is a Common Carder bee. This one below is also a common carder bee getting his fill of an Antirrhinum flower.

bee-common-carder1

Next we have a White-tailed bee on a Spiraea flower head. Look at all that pollen on his back legs!

bee-white-tailed-bumble

And another White-tailed.

bee-white-tailed1

And an Red-tailed one. The Knautia plants in early summer are bee nectar bars.

bee red-tailed-

And a Honey bee.

bees-honey

Here is a Tree bee on a Geranium flower.

bee-tree

And finally an Early bee.

bee-early

Fairly sure about this one as I managed to capture his yellow hairy face. Below is the same bee where you can see his blunt buff coloured tail.

bee-earlya

I would recommend planting the Knautia and also for later in the season Helenium and Echinops.

It’s been a labour of love, this identifying business but a worth while and fun one and I’m sure I’ll carry on photographing and trying to identify more species next summer.