Saturday 24 March 2012

Dandelion bugs

 The verges around the streets have started to be brightened by the sunny faces of dandelions. Much hated by gardeners as the epitome of "weeds", I very rarely pull them in the garden, I just love their intense yellow and the fascination they exert on so many different bugs. As dandelions also start to bloom relatively early, they are an important source of nectar and pollen for many insects. And if you wait, by May you'll have lovely clocks for kids to blow. Leave them be and enjoy them!
 And now a gallery of dandelion bugs if you needed any more convincing. First bees, and not only honeybees...
... but many species of bumblebees and solitary bees...
Emerging Queen bumblebees often feed on them: a the red tailed bumblebee Bombus lapidarius
and this Buff tailed bumblebee queen Bombus terrestris
A poor photo showing two bee species, the cleptoparasite Melecta albifrons and an early bumblebee queen Bombus pratorum.
Other early spring solitary bees can often be seen having a dandelion pollen bath
An unidentified solitary bee

A couple of Red Mason Bees.
And butterflies too...
A long distance shot of a Brimstone,

a Green-Veined White,
And Small Tortoiseshells too.
And last, but not least, many hoverflies use dandelions too
The narcissus fly, Merodon equestris, mating
 Episyrphus balteatus often meet on dandelion flower heads
 Two hoverfly species, a Helophilus pendulus and a Sphaerophoria sp.
I am sure I have missed many more. But not only insects, but also goldfinches enjoy dandelions. Here one feeding on white seeds on my doorstep.

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