New neighbour, new bee

A few weeks ago I got told off by my new neighbour for playing music too loud –  at 5pm on a Saturday afternoon. The following week he threatened to call the police on the guy who lives below me for playing his music too loud – at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon. Surely a futile exercise – I am sure the police have better things to do on a Saturday afternoon than answer a call about loud music in Peckham! All this has unsettled me. I don’t play my music that loud and not that often so his claims about the “walls continuously shaking and my pictures are coming off the wall” didn’t quite compute to my sporadic soundtrack of Serbian accordion music. I expect a bit of noise in Peckham – its what makes this area such a colourful and vibrant place to live. If you want a quiet life move to Nunhead. My point to him was about tolerance – barging into a new area and trying to call the shots is not going to earn you many friends.

Ivy bee Colletes hederae

Ivy bee Colletes hederae

A much more welcome newcomer to Peckham is the Ivy bee Colletes hederae. A handsome solitary bee, it feeds on ivy (Hedera) hence its name. Bee enthusiasts everywhere have been on the look out for it as it is a relative newcomer to the UK, and sightings in London have been scarce. A real quest, especially looking for a stripy insect amongst all the other stripy insects flying around at the moment. Richard Jones has written an informative article on Ivy bees, though I have beaten him to a local discovery by finding one in Warwick Gardens. The three large ivy bushes in the park are blooming – they flower in sequence, about three weeks apart. At the moment the middle bush is where the action is. The other striped insects wasps, honey bees and hoverflies are swarming all over it, excited by the nectar available on tap. And the noise! The buzzing is loud and frenzied and sounds remarkably like a distant helicopter. Amongst all this commotion is where I found our ivy bee, quietly feeding. I hope its not going to complain about the noise!

The Bees Wasps & Ants Recording Society (BWARS) are currently mapping the ivy bee. If you do see one please report it on their monitoring page: Colletes hederae mapping project

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