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Stem nesting bees at Great Dixter

The gardens and meadows at Great Dixter are alive with an abundance and diversity of stem nesting bees and wasps at the moment including two of Britain's smallest bee species the small scissor bee Chelostoma campanularum and the little yellow-face bee Hylaeus pictipes

The tiny Chelostoma campanularum bees can be seen foraging from Campanula and Geranium flowers throughout the gardens and nesting in thatch and beetle borings in wooden posts.

Hylaeus pictipes females forage from many different plant species throughout the gardens. The males of this species conspicuously 'swarm' with large numbers of male pale-footed black wasps Psenulus pallipes around the tops of tall vegetation adjacent to the Great Dixter Barn thatch roof and log pile waiting to intercept females as they return to their stem and tube nests.

The thatch roof at Great Dixter is home to many stem nesting bees and wasps and their associated cleptoparasites, parasitoids and inquilines. 

Andy Phillips

(Photos by Ian Phillips)

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