19th April ’20. Day 27 of Isolation.

Spent the afternoon in the garden. I put my blue blanket down in the same spot I did the other day when there were loads of bees. Me thinking I was Snow White, in tune with nature, attracting all the pollinators to hang out.

Today, sprawled on the blanket, trying to take photos of my new best mates, I wondered why they kept trying to crawl under the blanket.

Kat Slater. That’s who the females reminded me of. Their black shiny bums like PVC trousers and their fluffy shoulders, tiny fur coats. Party bees. Loads of them too, I counted seven in one go, totally buzzing, dancing, having it out, high on daisies and dandelions.

Suddenly it dawned on me: Ashy MINING bees; “Miners go underground, I must be on their nests.” Quick Google, found out a couple of facts, they were solitary bees. WHaaaT? So cute.

Indeed, they were swarming, not because I smelled from a sweaty work-out, but because I was obstructing the entrance to their homes. The females, after mating the male to death, made earth burrows to lay larvae.

Sure as sunset, I lifted the blanket and watched one bee fly straight to a little mound of mud and dip underneath.

Quickly, I grabbed my phone, clicked to camera.

Another female circled a dandelion for ages, I was like, “How does she KNOW it’s that one? Past the tree-log bench, after the seventh daisy, next to the third three-leafed clover?” and felt bad because I’d flattened the dandelion.

Bee walked around the matt-green leaves, taking no notice of how close I got staring at her, awe-inspired. Suddenly she found her door, popped her head in and all I could see was her Kat Slater black PVC bum: a wriggling bee mooner.

Fantastic.

I doubt I ever would have found out that Ashy Miner Bees were a species, let alone that they burrowed underground, AND in our garden, if it wasn’t for isolation.

I could watch them dancing for hours.

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