Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Allotment sightings

On an overcast afternoon at the allotment I noticed 3 bees settled on the flowerhead of a Centaurea montana, on closer inspection they appeared sluggish, one collected nectar in slow motion whilst the other two sat almost motionless. The briefest of downpours did little to spur them into action. I wondered whether Centaurea montana is a bee intoxicant, responsible for their soporific state. I don’t know whether this is standard bee behaviour, any feedback would be appreciated. There was plenty of bee activity elsewhere on the allotment amogst the Comfrey, Cranesbill, & the raspberry patch. In their lethargic state I managed a couple of close ups.

Elsewhere on the allotment a few common butterflies settled on foliage. Small white (Pieris rapae) Common & widespread throughout Britain & Ireland. White wings, forewings have one or two spots & small black tips. Adults attracted to white flowers, well camouflaged. Although this one settled for a while on Centaurea Montana.

Male Orange tip (Anthocharis cardamines) Males have white wings orange tips whilst the females have white wings with black tips. Mottled yellow & black underwings. Widespread in Ireland S Britain.

And finally, my first Ladybird of the year (Coccinellidae septempunctata).


  1. It's possible that the bees were infected with internal parasites or were carrying parasitic mites hidden in their fur - a lot of bumblebees are very heavily infected with parasites. Could be old age too - by the time bumblebees are a couple of weeks old they begin to literally wear-out. Old ones sometimes show quite a lot of wear-and-tear on their wingtips.

  2. Thank you Greenfingers. After watching the BBC (no pun intended) programme on the decline of bees on Friday evening, my Saturday afternoon trip to the allotment resulted in paying extra attention to the bees on my plot. What fascinating creatures! Linda


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