Endangered bee species thriving on land where flower-rich meadows reintroduced in UK

Image of shrill carder bee on flower

(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.

Invest in pollinator monitoring for long-term gain

Image of strawberries next to a free-standing hedgerow

(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.

10,000 rare bees feared dead after attack at UK castle

Image of honey bee on flower.

(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.

Study sheds light on ‘overlooked’ bee species

Image of solitary bee making nest.

(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.”

Saving heather will help to save our wild bees

Image of bumble bee on flower.

(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.

Road verges provide refuge for pollinators – if managed appropriately

Image of flowers along a roadside.

(University of Exeter) A study from the University of Exeter shows that roadside verges provide a vital refuge for pollinators. But the study emphasizes that not all verges are equal. It found pollinators prefer less busy roads and areas deeper into verges. It also found that cutting verges in summer, which removes wildflowers, makes them useless for pollinators for weeks or even months.

Turkish bee survives 1,850-mile trip to Britain in suitcase – but could pose risk to local native bees

Image of bee on ledge.

(The Sun) Osmia avosetta bees, which are commonly found in the Middle East, are known for their unique nests made from flower petals. The family contacted the British Beekeepers Association which then alerted the UK’s environmental authority, Defra, and the National Bee Unit. A spokesperson from the association said, “Non-native species like this bee pose several problems and need to be controlled. They may carry viruses that will wipe out native species or they may simply out-compete similar species for food sources.”