What’s in your garden – Solitary Bees

Hi everyone,

I’m back again with this weeks installment of ‘What’s in your garden’. Today I would like to show you one of my all time favourites, The Solitary Bee.

There are over 200 different species of Solitary Bee in the Britain, it is usually the first species of Bee to be seen in our gardens, as early as march. When feeding on pollen and nectar the hairy bodies of these cute little bees and hairy hind legs are covered, the pollen is then often carried back to the nest.

FACT – Only females are equipped to carry the pollen.

These little beauties usually make their nests in the ground. The female will dig the nest and stock up her pollen and nectar before sealing it back up leaving the young with a nice starter a meal.

Mining Bee

These Bees are excellent pollinators and having them in your garden will do wonders for your Flora.

Now, why are they called Solitary Bees? Well the Answer lies within the name. They are Solitary. They are not social Bees like our Honeybee or Bumblebee, although you may find lots of nests together when a piece of prime real estate is on the market. Nest sites are likely to be in the lawn or where there is bare soil. The nest tunnel is vertical and is usually topped by a mound of fine soil with a hole in the top to get in and out. These Bees can vary in size from 3mm up-to 15mm.

These Bees do have a sting but very rarely use it. They are quite harmless and not aggressive at all.

To attract these little cute fluffy Bees to your garden is quite simple. Lots and lots of flowers will help, but you could also construct or buy a bug hotel. These normally come with chambers made from bamboo for the Bees to make a nest. You could also leave any dandelions that pop up in your garden for as long as possible to help give these Bees a kick start in the early spring.

So here it is, a beautiful portrait of a Solitary Bee in my back garden on a Dandelion.

As normal any question please ask.

Macro Matt.

Solitary Bee


#Day46 of #100DaysofNature

Hi all,

So, if you have been keeping up-to date with the #100daysofnature challenge started by the #BBCSpringwatch team then you should be at day 50, However I had a break to France for 4 days so my challenge was put on hold until I got back. I promised to give you 100 species just from my garden and up-to now I am doing quite well šŸ™‚

Now….Who’s hungry? Have you ever tried caterpillar/larvae before? No? me neither, but this shield bug and other predatory insects love them.

This is today’s species, The Bronze Shield Bug, Troilus luridus. This one is at it’s Early Instar stage of development.

It’s a large predatory shieldbug in it’s adult form and has an orange band on the penultimate antennal segment, legs are usually brown and the scutellum lacks an orange tip.

So, here it is šŸ™‚ #Day46…oh and again a new find for garden.



#Day45 of #100DaysofNature

Hi everybody,

I had a fantastic day today after #BBCSpringwatch shared my picture and my Macro Page on facebook, Some lovely comments, I earned a few more likes to my page and the post reached over 26,000 people, and counting šŸ™‚

Thanks #BBCSpringwatch šŸ™‚

Now, onto today’s capture, #Day45 of #100DaysofNature. I have never seen a spider so colourful in all my life, exact ID I’m not 100% but it is, I believe, belonging to the Theridiidae family and most likely one of the Comb Footed Spiders. I photographed and gave info on another species on #Day36, but that one was quite plain in comparison to this, and a lot smaller in size too. This one had beautiful tones of reds, yellows and oranges. It played hard to get in terms of composition for the pic, I was in some strange yoga pose trying to get this shot, who knows what my neighbors think I’m doing in the garden haha.

But anyway, here it is šŸ™‚ and as always if you think you can ID this more specifically then please contact me through Facebook or Flickr, much appreciated šŸ™‚





#Day28 0f #100DaysofNature

Hi everyone,

So #Day28 is here and today I managed to capture one of these little guys in a great place. We have a little rockery area in the garden and some of those rocks have been covered in moss, I have found various creatures walking and wriggling through the moss but never thought I would see one of these little guys as normally you see them mostly on your fence panels, What I’m talking about of course is the Zebra Jumping Spider.

Now these are awesome to watch, and just like the Wolf Spider they don’t use webs to catch their prey, instead they put those big eyes to use and jumping ability to track and stalk their next meal.Ā Upon noticing someone observing them, they can be seen raising their head, and usually change behavior (hence the name Salticus scenicus, theatrical jumper). Next time it’s sunny go check out your fence panels and I guarantee you are sure to see at least one of these.

So here it is, species No 28, The Zebra Jumping Spider šŸ™‚




#Day27 of #100DaysofNature

Hi everyone, hope you are all having a great bank holiday weekend šŸ™‚

Me and my family went to Chester Zoo today, as we left the house the heavens opened so we decided to get a few extra layers on and some waterproofs. When we arrived at the zoo the sun decided to make an appearance and it go very warm, we still had all our waterproofs on and looked quite silly , at least this guy thought it was funny…..

Anyway we got home around 6pm and I was straight into the garden for todays species, and another new species recording for the garden. This is a Parasitic Wasp, exact species I’m not sure. Parasitic wasps are not as well studied as most other insects, so relatively little is known about the biology of many species. There are in excess of 4000 species in Britain and new species continue to be recorded.

Parasitic wasps, such as ichneumon wasps, braconid wasps and chalcid wasps, comprise many species that differ widely in their appearance and size. The smallest species develop as larvae inside the eggs of other insects.

Most parasitic wasps develop as larvae inside the larval or nymphal stages of insects or other invertebrate animals. Some attack the pupal stage and a few feed inside the bodies of adult insects.

Some female parasitic wasps have a long sting-like egg-laying structure on the rear end of the abdomen. This is particularly true of parasites whose prey insect lives in a concealed situation, such as inside a plant stem.

Parasitic wasps, like predators and diseases, are one of the means by which the populations of the animals they parasitise are controlled. During the early stages of the parasiteā€™s development, it causes no obvious harm to the host animal, which carries on feeding and growing. However, in the later stages of the parasiteā€™s development, it destroys its hostā€™s vital organs and kills it. Some parasitic wasps are being reared and can be purchased for the biological control of certain glasshouse pests. These include Encarsia forma for glasshouse whitely and Aphidius species for aphids. (Source wildaboutgardens.org )

So here it is….The Parasitic Wasp


#Day26 of #100DaysofNature

Hi everybody, its #Day26 and the start of the bank holiday weekend, whoop!!!!! Hopefully we will be heading out to the zoo this weekend so check back and I may just share some pics with you.

Now…Onto todays species, It’s not a new one for my garden, I’m pretty sure it won’t be a new one for anybodies garden, the species in question is the Aphid a.k.a The Green Fly.

Aphids, also known asĀ plant liceĀ and in Britain and the Commonwealth asgreenflies,Ā blackfliesĀ orĀ whiteflies, (not to be confused with “jumping plant lice” or trueĀ whiteflies) are small sap-suckingĀ insects, and members of theĀ superfamilyĀ Aphidoidea.Ā Aphids are among the most destructive insect pests on cultivated plants in temperate regions.Ā The damage they do to plants has made them enemies of farmers and gardeners the world over, though from a zoological standpoint they are a highly successful group of organisms.Ā Their success is due in part to theĀ asexual reproductiveĀ capabilities of some species.

About 4,400 species of 10 families are known. Historically, far fewer families were recognised, as most species were included in the family Aphididae. Around 250 species are serious pests forĀ agricultureĀ andĀ forestryĀ as well as an annoyance forĀ gardeners. They vary in length from 1 to 10 millimetres (0.04 to 0.39Ā in).Ā 

Natural enemies include predatoryĀ ladybirds,Ā hoverflyĀ larvae,Ā parasitic wasps,Ā aphid midge larvae,Ā crab spiders,Ā lacewingsĀ andĀ entomopathogenic fungiĀ likeĀ Lecanicillium lecaniiĀ and theĀ Entomophthorales. (Source wiki)

Aphids share an unusual but amazing relationship with certain species of Ants, TheĀ Chemicals on the Ants feet stimulate the aphids into secreting a sugary substance called honeydew which the Ants then eat. The Ants seem to farm the Aphids close by to the colony as a ready to go food source, in return the Ants offer protection to the Aphids and fight off any predators of the aphids such as ladybirds.

AbsolutelyĀ Amazing, and in today’s picture I have captured this relationship in action.






#Day24 of #100DaysofNature

Hi all, #Day24 and guess what….it’s not a froghopper haha, in fact, todays is a new species for the Garden. WHOOP! This I believe is a Pea weevil, Sitona lineatus. These are considered pests in the farming world, The larvea eat the roots of the Pea Plant and the Adults eat the leaves up top. This often leads to Farmers using PESTICIDES!

Pea and bean weevil overwinters as adult beetles that hide away in leaf litter and otherĀ sheltered places. Eggs are laid during late springĀ in the surface layers of the soil near suitable host plants, such as broad bean and garden peas. The larvae are creamy white legless grubs with pale brown heads. They feed on the nitrogen-fixing nodules on their host plants’ roots but do not usually affect the plants growth in garden and allotments. When fully fed the larvae pupate in the soil, with adult beetles emerging in late summer. There is only one generation per year. (Source rhs.org)

So here it is, The Pea weevil(I hope ID is correct)