Bumblebees, Cuckoo Bees and mimics of the Adur Valley
2006 - 2017
Wildlife Reports
 
2017
 
 
25 July 2017
 
Bumblebees on Mill Hill
5 July 2017
 
Bumblebee on Mill Hill
 
4 July 2017
 
 
Bumblebees on Buckingham Cutting
 

16 February 2017
Just the brief rays of the warm 10.2 °C  sun under a blue sky was a pleasant spring day that brought out my first queen bumblebee, Bombus,of the year.
 
 
2016

 
12 October 2016
Bumblebee on the Down's Link Cyclepath north of Old Shoreham. 

Common Carder Bee, Bombus pascuorum.

5 October 2016
Bumblebee on the southern upper part of Mill Hill.

Red-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus lapidarius.
 

22 June 2016
Red-tailed Bumblebee on a Spotted Orchid on the road verge at Buckingham Cutting (south).

Adur Orchids

29 February 2016
 
An inclement month drew to a close with a brief spell of weak sunshine with my first bumblebee of the year, a Buff-tailed Bumblebee visited Lesser Celandine on a verge outside the Health Centre in Steyning.

 
2015
 
22 March 2015
The first bumblebees were noted early in the month, and at least one a Queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris was spotted in a Portslade Cemetery.
 
 
2014
 
Mid October 2014

 
  Tree (or Garden) Bumblebee
Bombus hypnorum
Tree Bumblebee
Bombus hypnorum
 Common Carder Bee, Bombus pascuorum
2013

31 May 2012 
Common Carder Bee, Bombus pascuorum.

Convex 

9 March 2012
My first bumblebee of the year, a Queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris,  flew just above the cyclepath south of the Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham.
 
 
 
 

31 May 2011
On a day most noted for its cloud formations, amongst the Bramble flowers on Buckingham Cutting (south) there were a few each of the bumblebees; White-tailed Bumblebees Bombus lucorum, Red-tailed Bumblebees, Bombus lapidarius, and Common Carder Bees, Bombus pascuorum.
 
17 April 2011
A small white crab spider Misumena vatia on Green Alkanet had ambushed and killed a Carder Bee twice its size. The first of two Red-tailed Bumblebees, Bombus lapidarius, disappeared into a small hole on the lower slopes of Mill Hill.
 
 2 April 2011
Carder Bees (bumblebees)  were seen in Lancing on several occasions.
 
12 March 2011
The first bumblebee of the year, a Queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, visited Ropetackle east of Shoreham town centre by the River Adur.
 
 

 
7 June 2010
The first White-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus lucorum, of the year was noted visiting a Hardhead on the Coastal-Downs Link Cyclepath south of the Toll Bridge.
 
14 March 2010
The first bumblebee of the year, a Queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, flew out of the vegetation in a cleared space of the Hawthorn scrub in the north-west part of Mill Hill Nature Reserve. This was the only bee seen in the morning.
 
 
 
 
23 July 2009
This small bumblebee was recorded on the on the Pixie Path,  just north of Old Shoreham. 

I think this is the smaller male Red-tailed Bumblebee.

 
29 March 2009
My first definite Red-tailed Bumblebee of 2009 visited a Common Daisy on the footpath section of the Waterworks Road. My first Common Carder Bee visited a Daisy on the Pixie Path.
 

23 March 2009
Although Buff-tailed Bumblebees had been frequent every day this month, a special large emergence occurred with at least thirty in five minutes rising from their burrows into flight from the grassy are at the top of Chanctonbury Drive, Shoreham, south-east of the bridge over the A27 to Mill Hill.
 
 
 
8 October 2008
A Buff-tailed Bumbleebee climbed up a stalk of Devil's Bit Scabious on the lower slopes of Mill Hill in the early afternoon. After I dislodged it, it crawled around amongst the herbs. On the top of Mill Hill near the Reservoir, a Buff-tailed Bumbleebee visited a Musk Thistle still in flower. 
Buff-tailed Bumblebee on Devil's Bit Scabious Buff-tailed Bumblebee on Musk Thistle
 
27 May 2008
Red-tailed Bumblebees, Bombus lapidarius, and Common Carder Bees, Bombus pascuorum, were occasionally seen over a clearing on the south side of the Slonk Hill Cutting, choosing Red Clover to visit.
 
2 May 2008
Red-tailed Bumblebees, Bombus lapidarius, were occasionally seen on Mill Hill, on the lower slopes.
 
27 April 2008
Common Carder Bees, Bombus pascuorum, were foraging and had been for at least a week before this mention.
 
22 April 2008

Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, on Bluebell in my front garden in Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham. 

 
20 April 2008
Red-tailed Bumblebees, Bombus lapidarius, were occasionally seen on Mill Hill, on the open downs and amongst the scrub.
 
13 April 2008
My first Red-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus lapidarius, of the year buzzed around the entrance to the linear spinney at the top of Slonk Hill Road. Later, another one was seen on the lower slopes of Mill Hill in the afternoon.
 
3 April 2008
Queen Buff-tailed Bumblebees, Bombus terrestris, were frequently seen on wasteland on the outskirts of Shoreham.
 
9 March 2008

There were a few Queen Buff-tailed Bumblebees,Bombus terrestris flying around the ground vegetation on the Pixie Path.
13 February 2008
A definite Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, was seen flying over Lancing Manor near the buildings.

11 February 2008
Two large bumblebees were seen during the afternoon, the first almost certainly a queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris and the second one on the southern part of Mill Hill was probably this species as well.

10 February 2008
My first large Queen bumblebee of 2008 flew rapidly away from me over Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham. It was not identified but I think it was probably a Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris.

6 January 2008
Bumblebees were active on the Gorse bushes of Lancing Ring, probably male Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, showing the whitish tails and two yellow bars. I counted four individuals there was almost certainly more.
The weather was warm and sunny, in patches between the rain clouds, at about 10 ° C.

Report by Ray Hamblett on the Lancing Ring Blogspot



 

27 December 2007
A Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, flew over the railway crossing gates from Brunswick Road in Shoreham town. This bumblebee was half the size of the one seen nine days previously and may have been a worker?

18 December 2007
A Queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee,Bombus terrestris, visited a yellow Mahonia garden flower in a bed by the entrance to the Sussex Yacht Club building by the River Adur in Shoreham town.

3 December 2007
One large Queen bumblebee, probably a Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, flew at hedgerow height over Mill Hill Road between the bridge over the A27 and Mill Hill.

4 & 5 November 2007
At least two large bumblebees were seen visiting a few remaining flowers. They were either Queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, or White-tailed Bumblebees, Bombus lucorum.
 
29 August 2007
A dozen White-tailed Bumblebees, Bombus lucorum, visited a pink Sedum plant on Ropetackle.

It was the Ice Plant, Sedum spectabile

Plant IDs on  flickr

20 August 2007
This bumblebee visited Ragwort on an overcast day on the Downs Link Cyclepath south of the Toll Bridge

I think this one is probably the White-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus lucorum, with slightly faded colours. 

13 August 2007
Frequent Common Carder Bees, Bombus pascuorum, visited purple flowers in Shoreham town.

12 June 2007
Common Carder Bees, Bombus pascuorum, visited Greater Knapweed on the Downs Link Cyclepath in the long grass and herb meadow south of the Cement Works.

11 June 2007
On to the Downs Link Cyclepath a White-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus lucorum, and a Red-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus lapidarius, both visited the handful of Perforate St. John's Wort in flower south of the Toll Bridge.

23 May 2007
A smaller worker Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, visited the Spotted Deadnettle introduced to my front garden especially to attract the bees, bumblebees and hoverflies.

22 April 2007
My first Queen Red-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus lapidarius, of 2007 was seen, much later than usual this year. It was buzzing around the herbs at the northern end of the lower slopes of Mill Hill.

16 April 2007
My first Common Carder Bee Bombus pascuorum of the year, with a furry orange thorax, was seen on the Waterworks Road.

12-13 April 2007
The only bumblebees seen in warm weather about town and on downs were occasional Buff-tailed Bumblebees, Bombus terrestris.

27 March 2007
 

This picture confused me at first. It is just one bee on the Pixie Path to Mill Hill. The Queen had a white tail with slight V-shaped black markings a thin lemon-coloured band and an orange band near its head. This bee was attracted to a hole in the rotten lichen-covered wood. My first choice of species was Bombus vestalis, but it it is a bit early for this cuckoo bee. The brownish wings were rather distinctive.

This is a Bombus terrestris queen. I admit the description sounds like B. vestalis, but the pictures show the basal darker band of B. terrestris, not the patches of B. vestalis. It is not absolutely too early for B. vestalis as it, like its host, has been getting rather earlier, however I have seen only one or two quite this early. A picture of the hind leg would be a good idea and clinch it.

ID by Mike Edwards on the Adastra Mailing List


A Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, was seen ten minutes before the cuckoo bee about two metres from the same location.
Adur Bumblebees Checklist

24 March 2007
In the Hamblett's south Lancing (TQ 186 044) front garden, a smallish bumblebee with a bright white tail briefly visited the flowering Rosemary by the front door. I was unable to remember the patterns to discern which bumblebee (or mimic) species but it did not seem to have any lemon-yellow of the White-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus lucorum, nor the familiar appearance of the Carder BeeBombus pascuorum. It would be too early for the Carder Bee. It could have been the Small Garden Bumblebee, Bombus hortorum (but this has not been confirmed).
UK Bumblebees: how to identify the British species by colour
Bumblebee ID page (BRISC)

12 March 2007
There were well over a dozen queen bees in two hours, but they were all Buff-tailed Bumblebees, Bombus terrestris.

23 February 2007
Bumblebees were being seen at about one a day when I was out (once every two days) this week. A Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris was recognised over the Coastal Link Cyclepath south of the Toll Bridge and I think all the bumblebees seen have been this species.

10 February 2007
A bumblebee buzzed out of the St. Mary de Haura churchyard in central Shoreham. It was too quick and unexpected to be identified positively, but it was probably a Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris.

20 January 2007
Bumblebees have been seen on most of the bright days during this exceptionally mild month. Both a queen and worker Buff-tailed Bumblebees, Bombus terrestris, were seen in the front garden. Rosemary and Euryops were in flower which provided the attraction for the bees.

Report by Ray Hamblett on Lancing Nature Notes


10 January 2007
My first bumblebee of 2007 was a Queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee seen flying away from some vegetation over Frampton's Field, Old Shoreham, at the southern end near the Butterfly Copse leading to the Waterworks Road.
 



17 December 2006
A Red Admiral Butterfly and large bumblebee were disturbed in Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham.
Report by Andy Thorne
Adur Butterfly List

22 November 2006
A Queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee flew into the bushes to the south of the Riverbank houseboats on the River Adur estuary at Shoreham. I doubt if it will be last of the year, but I have made a note of it in case it was.

23 October 2006
On the lower slopes of  Mill Hill, the Devil's Bit Scabious also attracted a Common Carder Bee.

16 October 2006
Two Greater Knapweed flowers on the Pixie Path verges attracted a Common Carder Bee Bombus pascuorum.

Summer 2006
I have not been recording the bumblebees during the hot summer.

29 June 2006
A species of Copop fly was discovered near the Butterfly Copse next to the Waterworks Road. It is illustrated on the hoverflies page, but it is not a hoverfly.
Conops quadrifasciatus is a wasp mimic and NOT a hoverfly and its larvae are internal parasites of bumblebees.
Conop Images to Compare

29 April 2006
A Common Carder Bee Bombus pascuorum, was very keen on visiting a foreign Deadnettle in a north Shoreham garden.

24 April 2006
My first Common Carder Bee Bombus pascuorum, of the year was seen buzzing around the verges of the Waterworks Road, Old Shoreham.

c. 19 April 2006
The Buff-tailed Bumblebees are seen in the proportion of about 100/1 compared to Red-tailed Bumblebees in favourable location of bumblebees between 20 and 33 an hour.

5 April 2006
Queen Buff-tailed Bumblebees were seen every ten minutes or so on the Worthing, Lancing and Shoreham beach cyclepath, altogether about twenty were seen at regular intervals. All flew at under four metres and mostly about three metres from the ground.

1 April 2006
Spring has finally arrived under a blue sky with the warm rays of the afternoon sun. A dozen or so Queen Buff-tailed Bumblebees  were seen as they crawled from their holes in the ground in McIntyre's Field (east of Lancing Clump) before buzzing off at a height of about four metres above the ground.
 

21 March 2006
A Red-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus lapidarius, flew into some long grass at the east end of Widewater Lagoon.
 
20 March 2006
A Queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee crashed into the kitchen window twice in a Shoreham garden near Buckingham Park.
 
12 March 2006

A single bumblebee buzzed around the rockery by the garden pond in a Shoreham garden near Buckingham Park. I went to look for it, but it disappeared before I had a chance to identify it.  I thought it was a Red-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus lapidarius, but it could have been a Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris.

14 February 2006
The first definite bumblebee of this year was a Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, on the winter flowering Jasmine in my south Lancing (TQ 186 044) garden. Glimpses of bumblebees had been seen earlier in the month though.

Report by Jan Hamblett
Bumblebee Foraging Preferences

Bumblebee Reports >2005 (Link)



Apart from the common seven species in bold print on a green background, the rest of the bumblebees on the British list are uncommon, even on the edge of extinction (red background) or northern species (mauve background). The species with a grey background is widespread in Britain but under-recorded because of ID problems. The others are local or rare.

Common Six ID Chart
 
Scientific Names Common Names Adur Distribution
Bombus cullumanus Cullum's Bumblebee Not recorded. Extinct in the UK? 
Bombus distinguendus Great Yellow Bumblebee Not recorded. Found only on Scottish islands. 
Bombus hortorum Small Garden Bumblebee Frequent on Mill Hill*, Occasional elsewhere
Bombus humilis Brown-banded Carder Bee Not recorded
Bombus jonellus Not recorded
Bombus lapidarius Red-tailed Bumblebee Widespread on the Downs and Common
Bombus lucorum White-tailed Bumblebee Widespread and Frequent
Bombus magnus* Not recorded
Bombus monticola Not recorded 
Bombus muscorum Not recorded 
Bombus pascuorum Common Carder (Brown) Bumblebee Ubiquitous and Common
Bombus pomorum Apple Bumblebee Not recorded 
Bombus pratorum Early-nesting Bumblebee Not recorded
Bombus ruderarius Not recorded 
Bombus ruderatus Large Garden Bumblebee Not recorded 
Bombus soroeensis Broken Belted Bumblebee Not recorded 
Bombus subterraneus Short-haired Bumblebee Not recorded 
Bombus sylvarum Shrill Carder Bumblebee Not recorded 
Bombus terrestris Buff-tailed Bumblebee Widespread and Common
Bombus cryptarum Not recorded
CUCKOO BEES
Psithyrus barbutellus Not recorded
Psithyrus bohemicus Gypsy Cuckoo Bee Not recorded
Psithyrus campestris Not recorded
Psithyrus rupestris Hill Cuckoo Bee Not recorded
Psithyrus sylvestris Not recorded
Psithyrus vestalis Vestal Cuckoo Bee Occasional

* ID still awaiting confirmation. These may be worn Bombus pascuorum?

 Psithyrus is now known as Bombus.


25 July 2004
Slonk Hill south
Bombus vestalis
ID confirmed by Stuart Roberts
12 July 2005
Mill Hill (lower slopes)
Bombus lucorum
ID confirmed by Nigel Jones
9 July 2004
Mill Hill
Bombus lapidarius
(not confirmed)
25 July 2004
Slonk Hill south
Bombus vestalis
The hind tibia is convex in shape...and therefore a cuckoo bumble.
Comment & ID confirmed by Stuart Roberts
9 July 2004
Mill Hill
Bumblebee on Greater Knapweed
21 June 2004
Mill Hill
Bumblebee on Musk Thistle

 The identity of these bumblebees need confirmation.

 Bumblebee ID page (BRISC)


Adur Insect Links:

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