To Bee or not to Bee?

To Bee or not to Bee?

Happy Monday All!

Sorry about the little absence, my health was a bit dodgy, but I’m back now, so yay!

I spend a lot of time in my garden and I am lucky enough to have a lovely man (Flip) who makes it pretty for me. Thank you Flip! I often see lots of bees buzzing around the bushes such as the lavender, the buddleia and these cool bushes that I have no idea what they are. I really should look them up, remind me later people!

I took some photos and popped a picture of the honey bee I found on instagram (@jerra_writes also @chickenbeeblog), but then this really cool guy @richarddowlingwildlife informed me that it was actually a hoverfly.

Being curious of nature I asked him how to tell the difference and he said the easiest way to do this is to look at their eyes. Hoverflies have eyes on the top of their head (See picture below) and honey bees have eyes on the side of their heads (See picture below the other one).

A hoverfly in my garden
Honey bees having a conversation, probably about the weather if they’re British!

Can you see the difference? To me hoverflies look a little cross-eyed and confused!

I needed to know why they look so similar so I took a closer look and this is what I discovered. Hoverflies are copycats! They do something called Batesian mimicry which is where one animal, usually a harmless one, in this case the hoverfly who doesn’t have a stinger, mimics another one better equip to deal with predators. The pattern they adopted leads potential predators to believe they are bees who will sting them and taste revolting so they leave them alone. Pretty genius!

There are around 250 species of hoverfly in the UK, some of them mimic wasps, or bumblebees or even small slugs (What?). The hoverfly I met was a drone-fly, as they mimic honey bees.

I love bees, I have dreams of being an apiarist one day. I still welcome hoverflies into my garden, but I may point at them from time to time and scream ‘imposter’ but that’s my prerogative, being my garden and all.

Do you get bees or hoverflies in your garden?

See you soon!