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Country diary

Right on cue, volcanos have erupted on the edge of the city, on a patch of waste ground that was once agricultural land but has so far escaped development. The sandy soil here is perfect for colonisation by mining bees that tunnel out from underground chambers in late April, leaving symmetrical, centimetre-tall cones of soil around their exit hole. Mining bees are unsung heroes of spring, stepping into the breach left by the decline in honeybee honeybee

Broadly, any bee that makes honey (any insect of the tribe Apini, family Apidae); more strictly, one of the four species constituting the genus Apis. The term is usually applied to one species, the domestic honeybee (A.
 populations and pollinating cherry, apple, pear and gooseberry gooseberry: see currant.

Hardy fruit bush of the Northern Hemisphere, often placed in the genus Ribes with the currant (or alternatively assigned to the genus Grossularia as its sole member), in the family Saxifragaceae.
 blossom. The female tawny mining bee, by far the most attractive, is a honeybee-sized dusting brush of ginger fur that's particularly fond of gooseberry flowers.

As I sat and watched, one struggled out of her newly erupted cone of soil, climbed laboriously up a bramble bramble, name for plants of the genus Rubus [Lat.,=red, for the color of the juice]. This complex genus of the family Rosaceae (rose family), with representatives in many parts of the world, includes the blackberries, raspberries, loganberries, boysenberries,  stem, gave her wings a trial buzz and promptly fell to the ground. Complete acclimatisation Noun 1. acclimatisation - adaptation to a new climate (a new temperature or altitude or environment)
acclimation, acclimatization

adaption, adaptation, adjustment - the process of adapting to something (such as environmental conditions)
 to the transition from underground confinement to dazzling spring sunshine took a few more minutes, before she flew away towards wild cherries flowering around the edge of the field. Meanwhile, two males had emerged, less densely furred furred  
1. Bearing fur.

2. Made, covered, or trimmed with fur.

3. Wearing fur garments.

4. Covered or coated as if with fur.

 and easily mistaken for honeybees, and after their obligatory warm-up, they buzzed away towards a patch of dandelions, forcing their heads deep between the florets to collect nectar. Dandelion dandelion [Eng. form of Fr.,=lion's tooth], any plant of the genus Taraxacum of the family Asteraceae (aster family), perennial herbs of wide distribution in temperate regions.  flowers set seeds without the need for pollen or pollinators by virtue of a strange natural cloning mechanism called apomixis apomixis

Reproduction by special tissues without fertilization. Examples include parthenogenesis in animals (in which a new individual develops from an unfertilized egg) and apogamy in plants (in which the generating tissue may be either the gametophyte or the sporophyte).
, but nevertheless produce redundant pollen and nectar that male mining bees seem to find irresistible. Females will soon return to this site to dig new breeding chambers and lay eggs provisioned with bee bread - a paste of pollen and nectar - and then their brief lives above ground will be over for another year. As I was about to leave, their nemesis, a bee-fly, arrived, hovering over the volcanos, the downdraught from its wings blowing aside the dusty soil. This parasite drops its eggs into the newly dug tunnels, so next spring it may well be bee-flies and not mining bees that emerge.
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Date:May 15, 2008
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