Mint Moths and Green-Eyed Bees

Dear Readers, for some reason this post was meant to appear on Thursday, but didn’t, so here it is today! Last week I had  one of those days today when I sat down at my desk and didn’t stir until I realised that my back had seized up. It’s clear that if I don’t set myself an alarm on my phone to remind me to move after 45 minutes, I will be practically petrified before I’m much older. And so I took myself down to the front garden to see what was going on on the lavender, and before long I spotted this rather pretty little moth. This is a mint moth (Pyrausta aurata), also known as a Small Purple and Gold. It’s true that the caterpillars eat mint and marjoram and thyme and quite possibly lavender too, but it cheered me up so much to see it fluttering around the flowers that I forgive it, as I do most of the creatures that have a quick nibble in the garden.

There were the usual honeybees, and some fine bumblebees…

But there was also a tiny bee buzzing around, moving at twice the speed of anything else. S/he looked a little bit familiar, but it was difficult to get a good view because she was so busy. But then, finally, s/he settled for a second, and I could see that she had green eyes.

Four-banded Flower Bee (Anthophora quadrimaculata)

How interesting that this species of bee visited last year as well – clearly the lavender is a favourite. My bee book mentions that it has a high-pitched buzz, and indeed it does – I’m sure that the size of the bee must have something to do with the pitch of the drone. Bumblebees always sound like Lancaster bombers, whereas these little guys are definitely more like Spitfires. Not that I saw any of them in the recent flypast however (harrumph). I wouldn’t want you to think that I’m bitter.

Anyhow, a good photo of the flower bee has eluded me so far this year, so here’s one from 19th June last year. It’s a reminder that it’s always worth spending time to really look at a patch of plants that the bees are visiting. You never know who is going to turn up.

3 thoughts on “Mint Moths and Green-Eyed Bees

  1. Anne

    How wonderful to be able to respond to you at last! Your idea of spending time looking closely at even a familiar patch of garden can be very rewarding.

  2. Ann Bronkhorst

    If only there were a way of doing desk work while on the move. We MUST look after our backs as well as our brains!


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