(BBC) A country park in Somerset is creating habitats aimed at allowing a rare species of bee to thrive. Park rangers will leave dense grassy tussocks to grow in the hay meadows. They hope shrill carder bees can forage, nest and hibernate there.
(The Guardian) Conservation charity Buglife hopes to help restore and create at least 150,000 hectares of wildflower pathways with the launch of its B-lines network for England. B-Lines are a strategically mapped network of existing and potential wildflower habitats that criss-cross the country. The 3 km-wide corridors stretch from the coast to the countryside, towns, and cities, covering a total of about 48,000 sq. kilometers of England.
(BBC) Lytes Cary Manor in Somerset has been designated as one of two “exemplary” sites for the rare shrill carder bee. The shrill carder has disappeared from 97 percent of the U.K.’s wildflower meadows since the 1950s. Lytes Cary Manor’s status as an exemplary site comes after almost a decade of work by volunteers, staff and farm tenants on the National Trust’s 361-acre estate to recreate wildflower-rich areas.
(The Telegraph) Wildflowers will be planted on top of bus stops in Cardiff, the capital of Wales, to help attract bees. The plans follow in the footsteps of the Dutch city of Utrecht which installed wildflowers on more than 300 of their bus stops last summer.
(The Niche, pg. 10) Despite urgent need, monitoring insect pollinators, especially wild bees and hover flies, has often been considered too expensive to implement at a national scale. A research team is studying how to improve pollinator monitoring in the UK in a cost-effective manner. This research examines hidden benefits of monitoring schemes. By pooling data and expertise from a wide range of resources, the costs of schemes have been estimated to be between £5,600 ($6,900) for a small volunteer-led scheme collecting basic data and £2.8 million ($3.5 million) per year for professional monitoring of both pollinating insects and pollination to the UK’s crops. Overall, for every £1 invested in pollinator monitoring schemes, at least £1.50 can be saved from costly, independent research projects.
(Smithsonian Magazine) Last year, black bee hives were introduced to Wisbech Castle in England, as part of an effort to conserve the rare critters. Now, thousands of the castle’s bees are feared dead, following an inexplicable attack by two intruders. The British black bee, also known as the dark European honey bee, is native to Britain. The subspecies was thought to have all but died out until several colonies were identified in 2012.
(Phys.org/Angli Ruskin University) The U.K.’s first citizen science project focusing on solitary, ground-nesting bees has revealed that they nest in a far broader range of habitats than previously thought. “This information on nesting behaviour is highly valuable because it puts us in a better position to provide advice to land owners on how to manage their land sympathetically in order to protect these important, ground-nesting solitary bees.”
(Phys.org/Royal Holloway, University of London) A new study published today has discovered that a natural nectar chemical in Calluna heather called callunene can act as a medicine to protect bumblebees from a harmful parasite. The parasite, Crithidia bombi, is common among wild bumble bees and can be transmitted between bumble bees on flowers or within the nest.