A scarce species of bee has been discovered in Wales for the first time, says conservation charity Buglife.
The Carrot Mining Bee (andrena nitidiuscula) was spotted by Buglife Cymru staff during a recent visit to Lavernock Point Nature Reserve – a Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW) reserve in the Vale of Glamorgan, south Wales.
The staff made the discovery while conducting bee surveys as part of the 'Searching for Scabious' project.
The Carrot Mining Bee is just one of around 180 known bee species in Wales. Its name comes from its strong association with the flowers of wild carrot (daucus carota), from which it collects pollen. Formerly restricted to the southern counties of England, this scarce bee has never before been seen in Wales.
Liam Olds, Conservation Officer for Buglife Cymru, who made the discovery, said: “Though unexpected, finding this scarce bee in Wales is very exciting and a fantastic output for our 'Searching for Scabious' project. This discovery highlights how little is still known about the bee fauna of Wales, and how valuable funded projects such as our 'Searching for Scabious' project can be. Not only is this project improving our understanding of the distribution and conservation status of some of Wales' most threatened bees associated with scabious-rich habitats, it is also discovering species never before seen in Wales. Now that the carrot mining bee has been discovered at Lavernock Point, we hope to work with the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales to ensure this bee continues to flourish at this beautiful nature reserve.”
The 'Searching for Scabious' project, funded by the People's Postcode Lottery, aims to raise awareness of some of Wales' most threatened bee species associated with scabious plants. Through the project, sites across south Wales supporting scabious-rich habitats are being searched in the hope of discovering these bees. The surveys will provide Buglife with up-to-date species records and distribution data to inform management on the ground, and to improve the prospects for these threatened wild bees.
For further information on the project, visit www.buglife.org.uk/projects/searching-for-scabious.