The Isle of Man Post Office will release beautiful stamp on 8th Aug 2012 dedicated to one of our most popular and beloved insects and recognising its crucial role in the life cycle of the natural world.Apart from the honeybee, the Isle of Man is home to approximately 15 species of bumblebee and 57 species of solitary bee. To put this into perspective, currently there are known to be 24 species of bumblebees and over 200 solitary bee species recorded from the British Isles.
Most of us will be familiar with some of the various species of bumblebees that visit our garden flower beds, but the solitary bees will be less familiar and it may be only when they are nesting in our lawns or flower beds that we may notice them. They are called solitary because, unlike the honey and bumble bees, there is no worker caste and they do not live in colonies although they can form large nesting aggregations such as those of Colletes succinctus. Other solitary bees, known as cuckoo bees, forgo the labour of building and provisioning their own nests but sneak their eggs into the nests of other bees and where they develop and eliminate their competition for the nest\’s provisions. The silver and white Epeolus variegatus is one such cuckoo bee which can be found on the Ayres where it takes advantage of the efforts of bees such as species of the genus Colletes.