debbieC's picture

Masonary bee ?

Observed: 7th July 2010 By: debbieC
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course complete
debbieC’s reputation in InvertebratesdebbieC’s reputation in InvertebratesdebbieC’s reputation in Invertebrates
masonary bee ?
Description:

little bee filling in manmade hole. Took quite a while for 'him' to block hole with matter from bush across road.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

grant burleigh's picture

Myathropa florea

Yes, most interesting

grant burleigh's picture

Myathropa florea

Could it have just come over the Channel and be in process of creating a habitat for itself?

Syrphus's picture

This hoverfly is common and

This hoverfly is common and widespread bee in the UK. There is no need to suggest that it is an immigrant.

M.

TRY

recording wildlife with The Recorder's Year on www.hbrg.org.uk/TRY.html.

debbieC's picture

myathropa florea

Hello Grant, I took picture in ventnor, we get lots of stuff coming over the channel so could be. It was on the wall of a pub, I worked there for over 4 years and every year watched 'bees' filling in the old holes left from replaced signs. I just presumed this was the same type as usual, as I never really took any notice before!! He would fly off across the road into the gardens and return about ten mins later and proceed to fill. There may well have been two.

DebbieC

grant burleigh's picture

Myathropa florea

In wooded areas, the larvae of M. florea develop in rot holes or other cavities filled with water and leaves; adults presumably have interacted in some way with these sites beforehand, so there is a certain parallel here between the known behaviour of this hoverfly and what you were observing. Whether M. florea actively constructs nests in its normal environment seems, to me, a very interesting question; I don't know the answer and I wonder if anyone else does.

Syrphus's picture

Hoverflies do not construct

Hoverflies do not construct nests, and as this is a male (eyes touching on top) there can be no connection with egg-laying or with oviposition sites.

I would not be surprised if the association between the bee nest (for such it is, I feel sure) and the hoverfly is purely accidental. It is not unreasonable, though, to imagine some chemical attraction to either the material in the nest or to chemical traces left by the bee.

I can't suggest any functional relationship between the fly and either the bee or its nest, and I doubt that there is one.

M.

TRY

recording wildlife with The Recorder's Year on www.hbrg.org.uk/TRY.html.

grant burleigh's picture

Myathropa florea

Niche construction is a better term to describe what might be happening here.

ophrys's picture

Coincidence?

Sometimes, I think we can look too deeply for an explanation for behaviour in animals. Certainly, in this case, I am pretty sure that Syrphus is right "I can't suggest any functional relationship between the fly and either the bee or its nest, and I doubt that there is one".

Hoverflies often land on walls...walls sometimes have holes used by bees...hoverflies sometimes land on holes used by bees. QED

Ian
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debbieC's picture

Hi Ophrys, not sure about

Hi Ophrys, not sure about this being a coincidence as I watched him for a couple of hours. He would fly off for 5 mins then return and appeared to 'fill'. I would say he made at least a dozen trips. I agree, very odd behaviour for this species.

DebbieC

Syrphus's picture

You can be certain, Debbie,

You can be certain, Debbie, that the fly was not filling the hole. They are not capable of carrying anything (they do not have grasping mouthparts, just a 'sponge' for soaking up liquids; and the legs are not able to grasp anything either). There were two insects, one the bee (I am pretty sure that is what it will have been, but maybe a solitary wasp) that made the nest, and the fly that just happened by.

If it happens again this summer, post a picture of the insect as it is at work, and we will have the whole story.

Murdo

TRY

recording wildlife with The Recorder's Year on www.hbrg.org.uk/TRY.html.