nosing about at a bank inhabited by thousands of what I take to be mining bees and surrounded by them
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I think that the larvae of the bee fly are parasites in the nests of the mining bees. Hence the association.
University of Edinburgh and Biodiversity Observatory (OU)
thanks! is it possible therefore to pin down the bee species?
latest pics and diptera videos
Wikipedia says they "flick eggs toward nests of solitary bees and wasps". These bees are the opposite of solitary. by 'solitary' could it mean that these bees build individual nests, albeit in a vast colony? So that in fact here are many thousands of individual bees, all using the same bank, like Sand Martins?
Yes, solitary means not eusocial, with a queen, workers and so on like honeybees. It does not mean that they are lonely!
The bees visible in the background are Andrena flavipes (Yellow-legged Mining Bee) - they regularly nest in big aggregations like this, where you'll fine females nesting and males flying around searching for females to pair with.
many thanks! Yesterday I discovered small, black & yellow wasps (approx 10mm)with their own burrows also living among the bees, just dotted about and massively outnumbered
Also briefly another species which I failed to photograph but later found looked very much like a Ruby-tailed Wasp. Just the one and it didn't stay long and I've searched the 150 yards or so of the Bee-bank but not yet seen another. Was it after something else?
Lat/Lng: 51.5557, -0.0245
OS grid ref: TQ370859