The End of Summer – Bees, Lavender and Orb Weaver

The nights are getting cooler and the sun has begun setting earlier. These are some of the signs that tell us that summer is nearing it’s end and autumn is taking over. Even so, the last few days in the south have been overly hot. We’ve had temperatures of 24 degrees and the sun has been pretty relentless. Summer had a slow start and plants flowered later than usual so right now we still have some lavender flowering in full form by the pond near my house.

Lavender Bee

I expect tomorrow to be less hot as I did see some rain clouds hovering just before the sun went down. We even had a few large droplets that did not develop into full out rain. However, that did not discourage these bees from harvesting as much pollen as they can before summer ends.

Red Tailed Bumblebee?

There are 250 species bees in the UK. Only 24 out of these 250 are bumblebees. Bumblebees are the furry ones you tend to see and they are more noticeably larger. I saw a few different types of bumblebees flittering around the lavender and I had a look at the identification keys on bumblebeeconservation.org, I’ll tell you now that identifying bee species is no easy task. It was made even worse by my poor photos! There is something particularly hard about focusing on a bee and taking a clean photo before it flies away! I’ve tried my best to identify them (hover over photos to see my ID guess), do let me know if I misidentified!

Common Carder Bee?

Bees were not the only busy ones around! See if you can find something that isn’t a bee on this next photo!

Common Carder Bees and Orb Weavers

If you are still stuck, look at the bottom right hand corner. There were as many – maybe even more – orb weaver spiders as there were bees! Many were mending webs which led me to believe that many bees were able to escape webs. Perhaps the force of a bee flying around may be too strong so webs were often broken. However, the chance that a bee might be lunch was too appealing so without being too disheartened, spiders just mended the holes and continued the waiting game.

Orb Weaver

I found one creamy green colour weaver that was extremely successful. A pile of dried and dead bees had gathered on some lavender stalks unders it’s web and in it’s clutches was one very dead bee being eaten.

Successful Orb Weaver

It’s apparent from my photos that I find the stillness of spiders easier to photograph! I’ve been slowly collecting orb weaver photos so very soon you will see a post just for spiders!

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