Miner Bees with Aphids in their mandibles - Why, can anyone help?
I spotted this behaviour two weeks ago in my garden in Christchurch, Dorset and managed to get photographs of both a Tawny Miner Bee and and Ashy Miner Bee doing it (the latter are the better quality images)
They held the "bug" in their mandibles for in excess of a minute and appeared to be manipulating them using their mandibles as jaws, but at no point did they appear to damage them
The only idea I have been able to come up with is based on the fact that bees have been seen to harvest Aphid honeydew, so maybe this is another way of doing so (rather as ants harvest direct from aphids)
I have recorded my finding on the Natural History Bee forums and elsewhere but so far no one has confirmed having seen this before
I'm hoping that this may be spotted by an expert in bee behaviour who can help explain what is occuring