Dear Bee Experts,
I have recently been finding a few bees (3-5 per day) in our dining room, mostly completely still and extremely docile (but alive). I live in Bromley, Kent (SE England/London borders)
We have 3 year old twins, so I am a little concerend that we have a nest either under the house, or in the eaves above the window.
Closer inspection showed the bees to have very little, if any colour on their bodies but orange hairs on their legs. Some have a very small dark orange patch around the tip of their tail. All are a similar size which seems slightly smaller than the average "bumble bee".
My novice attempts at identifying it have repeatedly led me back to the "Red-Shanked Carder Bee", but as they seem quite rare, I doubt my ID.
Please let me know
a) what species this is
b) if i should be worried about having these around children.
Many thanks in advance.
(Apologies for the poor image, I will try to get a better one over the next few days)
Message was edited by: Greg-G Subject changed as I mis-identified this as a Red-Shanked Carder bee originally.
This is the female of the Hairy-footed Flower bee, Anthophora plumipes. When more than one example is found indoors this usually results from them having fallen down the chimney, last years females having made their individual nest burrows in the soft mortar of the chimney stack. The cohort that emerges the following spring (now) occasionally emerge into the chimney and fall down. Just cast any you find outside and they will soon warm up in the sunshine and be on their merry way.
These bees can be seen in gardens at the moment zipping about in the sunshine and visiting flowers, females being all black with yellow legs, males are 'ginger' with conspicuous yellow faces - both fly with their tongues out and have a fast and jerky flight as they visit flowers.
A small note of caution - if there are dozens over consecutive years it may be worth having a builder check the chimney stack as the structure can be compromised from successive years borrowings of this Mason bee.
Many thanks for your prompt respose.
I've looked at other people's photos of Anthophora plumipes and confirm they look identical to the bees I'm finding.
Interesting point you make about getting the chimney checked, we have found significant amounts of sand in the fireplace over the last couple of years.
Are these bees generally safe for children to be around?
Sand in the fireplace could indicate bee activity up there - as I say I few holes are not really a problem but occasionally they can get out of hand.
These bees are very safe with children you would literally need to squeeze one in your hand to provoke a sting.