More people are starting to get out & about now and with a bit of sunshine, the Digger Alley inhabitants have been keeping us amused. The probe lens has been giving me some fun video clips again (and some conversations with the curious) so here's another dip into the world at our feet.
Beewolves normally close the door when they go out
So their burrows don't get pinched by others. You want home to be there when you return with a bee after all!
Sliding down the burrow when they arrive home
Ornate Tailed Digger Wasps are also plentiful this year
They've been collecting a variety of bees - sometimes a bit larger than you'd expect!
They don't seem to have a bad relationship with the Beewolves, even chatting to them at the burrow entrance on occasion
Ants clear up the deceased, this one managing a bee all by itself
But I'll finish for a change with one of the little bees digging a home. Gotta love the Green Eyed Flower Bee!
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Lot to learn
In reply to gaynorsl:
gaynorsl said:The Beewolves close that door so tight how on earth do they find their way back?
Ah well now, we do know that. When the Beewolf goes out, she lays down a pheromone unique to herself - that will be the proper confirmation when she returns. However, the route back to the burrow is from her memory of landmarks around the entrance. When she leaves, she closes the hole before flying backwards & forwards over the top for a few seconds - memorising the area. A pebble here, a patch of grass there. Then she flies off. Returning, she recognises the landmarks, homes in on her burrow, using the pheromone to confirm she's in the right place. We know this because researchers have tested it, placing a ring of stones around the burrow then moving them a couple of feet to one side after she's left. The returning Beewolf heads for the ring of stones, then gets confused as her pheromone isn't there. She normally finds it eventually, just has to hunt around the area. We see it ourselves - landmarks are always getting altered as people move around and dislodge pebbles. Plus of course, your camera resting on the ground becomes part of her mental map! Rain always causes plenty of arguments as, not only do landmarks change, but pheromones get washed away into other burrows. It normally takes a few hours before things settle down again :-)
Pantaloon Bees were busy yesterday - they don't really like the fierce sunshine, so the warm yet mostly overcast weather suited them. Mind you, even in slo-mo, they're quick to disappear down their burrow!
It's better when they leave, sometimes they'll take a few moments to clean off the dust before setting out on a foraging mission
Weevil Wolves have been somewhat elusive this year - only a handful about, so it was nice to see this one working hard stocking her burrow
The Beewolf, a bit miffed a different wasp was centre of attention, came to see what was going on. They're a bit disdainful of the small cargo Weevil Wolves carry - and to be fair, a honey bee is a fair old load for a wasp!
This picture is interesting, she's about to disappear underground with her load, so she's checking out the hole to make sure it's hers. Amazing things those antenna!
This little bee is a bit more of a rarity - it's a Red Thighed Epeolus. It didn't hang around, so I only managed a quick shot, but it's another tick on the list for the Digger Alley year :-)
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