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Bee attacked by mites?

ManderMander GatesheadPosts: 285
This bee has been in the same flower all day. I noticed it this morning and thought it was moving oddly but I've just been doing some weeding and got a better look. It seems to have dozens of tiny light brown insects all over the area where the two body segments join, and it has been going around and around stabbing at the same bits of the flower over and over. (Sorry my biology terminology is failing me and my phone isn't very good with macro photos!).

Does anyone know what I'm looking at here?


Posts

  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 7,557
    It certainly looks like mites. Bees can carry a lot of mites, some good, some bad and some that are fairly harmless. When the new queens leave the nest to mate and then hibernate until next year they will often carry a whole host of mites with them. Many of these are cleaner mites that live in the nest and just live on detritus but some will be parasitic and some will steal the food from the developing grubs. It's all just part of nature. 
    A great library has something in it to offend everybody.
  • CrazybeeladyCrazybeelady WarwickshirePosts: 410
    I think some of the mites use the bees as a public transport system! Sometimes too many get on and the bee can't fly.
  • ManderMander GatesheadPosts: 285
    I'd never seen them before but after this I finally hit on the right search terms. I don't know why this particular bee seemed to be acting strangely but to my amateur eye these look like the "cleaner" mites. I forgot to go back and check to see if the bee finally flew away.
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