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Bee on bee attack

Observed: 11th August 2012 By: kob
dying bees 006 crop

The smaller bees have nested in this garden in the same stone wall for the last two years. In the last week or so, at least a dozen of the larger bees, have been seen walking slowly around on the ground below the nest. They died a few hours later. Today, one of the smaller bees was seen attacking a large bee in flight. The large bee dropped to the ground. The small bee flew into the nest. The photograph shows another pair of bees. In this case, the smaller bee remained attched to the larger bee. Both died some hours later.
What's going on here?

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Bombus (Melanobombus) lapidarius interacts