As a new landcarer, every day is a learning experience for me. Today a group of us got stuck into some weeding down at our local park. It was a chilly morning but we were soon stripping off our layers when the autumn sun broke through the trees. There was so much to see and hear. It was wondrous and fun.

I’ve recently spoken to several park users who have noticed an increase in the number of butterflies and birds since our woodland began its transformation from mowed urban open space to wildlife sanctuary. Today’s high point was when my True Love encountered two native bees that we hadn’t seen before in the park – the blue-banded bee (Amegilla sp.) and the chequered cuckoo bee (Thyreus caeruleopunctatus). Of course, we have blue-banded bees in our own home garden because they love salvia, but I’ve never seen one at the park where thankfully there is no weedy escapee salvia in sight! Awesome. Then to top off the day, the discovery of not one, but two, chequered cuckoo bees was a delightful surprise because neither my TL or I had seen that species before. And they were all together. How cosy! Let’s have a look at them.

The BBBs are solitary bees. The female makes a burrow in soft soil (eg. earth bank) or sometimes soft mortar to lay her eggs (or maybe it is just one egg. I’m not sure). The cuckoo bee parasitises the nest of the BBB. Apparently, it is unusual for the BBBs to roost with cuckoo bees. Anyway, here they are just chilling out together on a a blade of grass as the day warms. I have it on reliable authority (thanks Canberra Nature Mapper experts) that the BBB in this photo is a male.

Bee your kindest self. I must remember that now that I’ve chopped off the less flattering part of this park care story.

Kind Regards.

36 thoughts on “The Little Things

    1. Yes, they do, Jude. The eggs are sealed in the nest. The cuckoo bee’s larvae hatch first and the larvae eats all the food that the BBB collected for her own larvae so the BBB larvae starve to death. The male BBBs don’t have any role apart from fetilisation. They know nothing of any nests, or so I was told today. 🙂

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  1. Good heavens Tracy, you’ve made me feel a bit foolish with my total lack of knowledge about such things! Now I’m wondering if we have any of these species in my part of the world. Good on you for your work on restoring nature to her natural state, and for the already-proven results of your efforts!

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    1. Thank you, Tina. It has been so interesting to connect with people in my region who are working on integrating the nature reserves into our parks and own gardens. Keeps me busy. I would be interested to know about your local insect species too. I bet there are many. Are Kiawah residents also bringing those rehabilitation concepts into recreational parks and their gardens?


  2. Nothing like a community getting together to improve the neighbourhood. Brilliant images, Tracy. I did my good deed for mankind this morning and saved a working bee from a cobweb. Didn’t think to take a photo before releasing it. Oh well, there was also the issue of getting the hot cross buns out of the oven.

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  3. Well done (in weeding and caring for the local park).

    What good luck capturing 2 bee species in one photo. I think I mentioned I’d never seen a blue-banded bee, but I’m not sure about the chequered cuckoo bees. They look a bit like ordinary common bees in my area and since they rarely settle and I don’t have flowers around me much, they may have flown past and I never realised what species I was seeing.

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    1. The cuckoo bee was the one at the top of the photo, Vicki. Sometimes the blue banded bee is difficult to see because they are most often on the move. I think they both were a little cold at the time. We were indeed very lucky, or at least my TL was, because he is the one that spotted them.

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  4. Such stunning little creatures! That blue is lovely!

    It must be gratifying to see discernible difference to your efforts – it is a much needed work that you all do!

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