Whilst walking across the downs at Durlston one day in summer I could not help but notice hundreds of small holes in the bare ground on the path and lots of small insects either flying around or at rest near by. I was eventually able to find one at rest long enough to get this photograph. Given the insect itself was only a few millimetres long this photo came out quite well and I was able to get an identification, it is the slender mining bee (Lasioglossum calceatum).
This is a common mining bee in southern England and can be seen from April through until October and I saw it in May just as its breeding activity was beginning to get under way, hence all the activity. Whilst the are solitary bees, that is to say they do not have a hive with queen and workers, the do seem to like to nest in colonies. Being a mining bee it digs a small nest in underground and that is why the path was peppered with small holes. The Latin name suggest a preference for calcareous soils and that is certainly what you get at Durlston which is limestone.This species is
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