Beeplants blog – June 2024

These are heyday for bees, hoverflies and other pollinators. I would like to take you on my tour on Saturday, June 22, 2024. It was finally, after weeks of rain and low temperatures, a very beautiful day. I combine my rounds with walking the dog and depending on where plants are blooming, I adjust my route. This day I started with the privet (Ligustrum vulgare); as many as 25 bees, 10 bumblebees and 14 hoverflies. I've never had so many before. Then on to the meadow crown (Knautia spp.). Four honey bees and three hovering flies, a few steps further than the flowering vipersøs bugloss (Echium spp). With only bumblebees, I saw 13 bumblebees within my “at a glance”. I ended my tour at a rose bed (Rosa spp), almost impossible with so many insects. I took a countable piece and noted 30 honeybees, 15 bumblebees, 10 solitary bees and 14 hoverflies. Same round again tomorrow!

I heard a few questions from fellow observers that I would like to answer briefly here. 1. Those yellow dandelion-like plants on stems of up to 50 cm high, are those dandelions? No, it is related, but this is pigweed (Hypochaeris.). It is listed in the plant catalogue under Hypochaeris and the local name. 2. And those small dandelion-like plants on stems of about 10 cm? This is also related to the dandelions, but this is hawksbeard. There are species many, but in the catalogue, we call them together as Crepis spp and also by the local name. 3. And what about the thistles? One thistle is not the same as the other, but they are all thistles, so whether you see a field thistle a ball thistle or another thistle, it will be listed in the catalogue as Cirsium spp or Carduus spp and also with the local name. As an example, we took a photo of the feather thistle. So, all observations of thistles, and therefore also those of other genera, can be reported here under “thistle”. 4. Don't forget to report plants with many pollinators that are not in the plant catalogue in the "Add a Plant" box. You will find this box if you scroll down immediately after opening it. 5. Finally, the handy trick to tell honey bees, solitary bees and hoverflies apart. There are many species of wild bees and hoverflies, but we look at these insects as “solitary bees” and “hoverflies” without caring about the species. Take note! All solitary bees have true antennae with distinct segments. So any insect that collects pollen or drinks nectar in a flower, with true antennae and that is not a honey bee, is a solitary bee. All insects with only two knots, buds or short non-segmented stalks instead of antennae and usually with clear markings are hoverflies. There are certainly exceptions, but with this rule, you can easily provide us with correct information. I assume you are all familiar with bumblebees and anything that is not a honeybee, solitary bee, hoverfly or bumblebee is an “other insect” I have my observations of ladybugs, longhorn beetles and butterflies.

– Sjef van der Steen

This is my Rose observation location, a corner of a big parking place.

Better-B has received funding from the European Union, the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under the UK government's Horizon Europe funding guarantee (grant number 10068544).

Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union, European Research Executive Agency (REA), SERI or UKRI. Neither the European Union nor the granting authorities can be held responsible for them.

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