A new garden species!
This stricking bee, a female Sharp tailed bee (Coelioxys sp.), suddenly appeared in front of a bee hotel and stood out because of the greyish color. As soon as she sat down it was clear what genus was involved because of the characteristic shape of the abdomen tip .
After she had inspected all the bee hotels she flew on a few flowers is Great willowher (Epilobium hirsutum) to drink.
Unfortunately the key characteristic to determine the species is not visible on the photo’s, probably it is either C. inermis or C. elongata [3, 4].
Sharp tailed bees are cleptoparasites. C. elongata hosts include a.o. Patchwork leafcutter bee (Megachile centuncularis) and Willughby’s Leaf-cutter Bee (Megachile willughbiella), C. inermis a.o. Patchwork leafcutter bee . Both host species make use of the bee hotels but are currently not active any more.
Sharp tailed bees are rare to very rare bees in the Netherlands. Both candidates are classified as rare and C. elongata is under pressure .
So that is quite the reward for the garden project that this bee genus pays it a visit!
References1 wildebijen.nl, "De Nederlandse bijen en hun relaties, overzicht van in Nederland en Vlaanderen voorkomende solitaire en sociale bijen (Apidea s.l.)"
2 Reemer, Menno. "Basisrapport voor de Rode Lijst Bijen", EIS Kenniscentrum Insecten, Leiden
3 SMIT, Jan. Determinatietabel voor de bijen van het genus Stelis in Nederland. Bzzz/HymenoVaria, 2010, 31.1: 39-41.
4 Rowson, R. & Pavett, M. 2008. A visual guide for the identification of British Coelioxys bees. 7pp. Privately published, Cardiff, UK.