How do you play peek-a-boo with a Bee?

A valid question and if you get it wrong not one without consequences.

There are several types of Bee, the big fluffy meandering Bumbles and the hard working direct Honey Bee are the two most famous of them but if you try to play Peek-a-boo with these you’re likely to get hurried along quite quickly as they really don’t have the time for silly games, but there is another kind that is just as important (arguably much more important).

There are around 265 species of Solitary Bee in Britain they may not get the press but they are in just as much trouble as their more famous socially minded brethren and by sheer numbers alone do a massive amount of pollination.

One of my favourite things at this time of year is looking for these Bees at Taf Fechan mainly by walking very slowly staring at my feet (remembering to look up occasionally so I don’t walk into a tree, this has happened. I call it a “symptom of enthusiasm” there are many others, forgetting there are more steps to negotiate for example or continually nearly walking off the end of a raised bridge.

With all the chances to absentmindedly walk off things Taf Fechan has to offer I’m amazed I’m still in one piece frankly) and if I’m lucky I get to play peek-a-boo.

Solitary mining bee at Taf Fechan by G Watkeys

Solitary mining bee at Taf Fechan by G Watkeys

First you see a little hole in the ground with freshly piled earth around it and the briefest glimmer of movement that tells you a Mining Bee is at home (I think Taf Fechan has the perfect conditions for finding these Mining Bees, a south facing slope with patches of bare sandy earth, the sub-soil is yellow/orange but the thin top layer of soil is black meaning the fresh mines stand out wonderfully).

Sit down quietly next to this hole and slowly emerges the head of the resident. She isn’t doing this for my enjoyment (this is just a happy by-product) she is single handedly (or maybe being a Bee single hexapodily?) and diligently protecting her huge investment of collected pollen and developing eggs in the burrow beneath from all sorts of parasites that are always looking for an unguarded nest to prey upon.