Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Stealing honey

In the last couple of days the two dogs, probably on the trail of a badger or possibly a fox, have come across two wild bee nests in the long meadow grass that have been raked up and the honeycomb plundered (click on the images right to enlarge). We're assuming its the work of a badger given the paw marks in the dirt surrounding them. It's fascinating watching the bees frantically trying to rebuild, pulling grass roots back over exposed holes. I've found a great website called Bees of Ireland run by Trinity College Dublin and I think the species is Bombus Pascuorum (map distribution below - grey dots are recordings pre-1980, red dots post-1980). There are 101 bee species in Ireland (there are 260 in the UK and many more in continental Europe), but only one unique species the Bombus muscorum var. allenellus, which is found only on the Aran Islands. Many of the Irish species are on the 'red list' of endangered species due to loss of habitats, disease and competition. Hopefully our two nests will manage to survive.

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