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  • Writer's pictureMid Wales Bees and Wasps

Welcome to the website - plus the latest news

Updated: Apr 21, 2023

Welcome to the Radnorshire and Breconshire recording website for bees and wasps.

It has been created as a way to share my interest and sightings of the bees and wasps of the Counties of Radnorshire and Breconshire. Hopefully it may enthuse others to start recording bees and wasps. It would be nice to share their sightings and records, with permission of course!

There is a designated space at the bottom of the introductory page on the site, to send in your records of bees and wasps if you would like. Once received, the records will go to BIS, the Biodiversity Information Service, which is the Local Records Centre for Powys.

I have used mostly Latin names for the species. Recently, bees have had common names assigned to them, so when possible I will add these. However, some solitary wasp species do not have common names, so please bear with it.

The photos were taken by myself, unless credited otherwise. This website is not affiliated to any other website or organisation.

Thanks, Janice :) 12 August, 2020

Vice County Recorder for bees and wasps, VC42 and VC43, Breconshire and Radnorshire

Anthophora plumipes

I'm really pleased that I managed to get some reasonable photos yesterday while the sun was out. Taken in Llandrindod Wells, this male and female Hairy-Footed Flower bees (Anthophora plumipes) were really busy - once again they were enjoying lungwort flowers. Get it planted in your garden!

These lovely spring images of Tawny Mining bee (left), Nomada signata male, (middle) and Hairy Footed Flower bee male, have all been captured by Keith Noble from Breconshire. The Nomada signata is the cleptoparasite to Tawny Mining bee, entering the nest holes to lay their own eggs (females of course).

It is surprising that more records aren't made of this Nomada species, considering how frequently Andrena fulva is recorded. Possibly, as it's more easily identified - there is nothing else quite like it.

Keep your eyes peeled as the bee and wasp season has now begun!

October 2022

Bumblebees as well as other insects remain on the wing during this very mild October. Female and queen bumblebees quite commonly seen daily in the garden in the last week. The hind tibial corbicula (pollen basket) is easily seen in this photo.

Bombus terrestris queen

September 2022

It's getting late into the bee year now, and the males are around, looking to mate with new queens and female solitary bees. Above left and middle; Lasioglossum sp, Lasioglossum albipes/calceatum from Richard Knight in Radnorshire and male Bombus lapidarius from my garden.

August 2022

This huge ichneumon wasp was captured by Amy Bettinson in Breconshire apparently ovipositing into a tree trunk. Ichneumon are parasitoid wasps that are generally difficult to identify to species, although there is a very good guide at British ichneumonid wasps ID guide (

Now is a good time to see cuckoo bumblebees (although they have been around for a few months too). Richard Knight captured this one on the right, on knapweed in his Radnorshire garden. Without close examination, it's difficult to know which species it is.

This Melitta haemorrhoidalis was photographed by Keith Noble from the Breconshire area. The common name given to it by Steven Falk is Gold-tailed Melitta. They are diagnostic to genus by an expanded area between the claws. It is one of the most widespread Melitta and can be a localised species, found in good numbers.

July 2022

This lovely little film was sent to me from the Presteigne area of Powys, taken by Anne Belgrave showing the busy behaviour by the Megachile, leaf-cutter bees in her garden.

Megachile ligneseca by Keith Noble (Brecon)

These large leaf-cutter bees are often found nesting in rotten areas of wood and can nest in small aggregations if the area is big enough.

June 2022

There have been recent sightings of Bombus monticola in Breconshire in the last week, as shown below. BIS, Biodiversity Information Service, would like to have as many records as possible, so do send them in to them or to myself by submitting to the website.

Also, a lovely female Hairy-footed Flower bee, Anthophora plumipes has been recorded in the Howey area of Radnorshire by Louise Bell.

Bombus monticola, Gareth Rees Anthophora plumipes, Louise Bell

This Nomada marshamella was recorded by Dorothy Baynham in Radnorshire. It is a nice and easily identifiable species that can be done in the field. June means that there may be some different species on the wing. I will be walking in the Blorenge this week and look forward to photographing some bees and wasps.

May 2022

Nomada species and Halictus

Nomada species and Halictus rubicundus

It's May already and the usual suspects have been recorded so far in my garden in Radnorshire. The Red Mason bees are out and it won't be long until the cleptoparasites are out too. Here are a couple of photos from my garden. It just shows the importance of dandelions!

April 2022

Andrena fulva female and Nomada signata (keith Noble). Red tailed bumblebee, Bombus lapidarius (Dorothy Baynham).

Bees are emerging all of the time now and there are plenty of bees around in the warming sunshine.

Do keep your sightings coming in - you can message the blog in 'Contact' on the front page. Some bees are emerging at different times than is sometimes written in the literature - this is only a guide as bees depend upon weather conditions which can be really localised and variable.

April 2nd

In the garden today, 2nd April, this female Andrena species (possibly A. helvola) was searching for pollen. Other species recorded around Llandrindod was the lovely, and easy to identify Andrena haemorrhoa with nesting holes nearby.

Andrena female, Andrena haemorrhoa and nesting mining bee site by Dot Baynham.

March 2022

The lovely spring-like weather has certainly brought out the bees this weekend. Hairy-Footed Flower bees, Anthophora plumipes female and male using Lungwort to feed upon and the sand loving aggregation have been visited by Keith Noble again. They do look like Yellow-legged mining bee, Andrena flavipes now, rather than Sandpit Mining bee, Andrena barbilabris.

Hairy-Footed Flower bee female, left, Keith Noble, Breconshire. Male, Hairy-Footed Flower bee, middle, Janice, Radnorshire. Right, Andrena flavipes, Keith Noble. One of a large aggregation.

The solitary bees are starting to emerge in mid Wales, and Keith Noble has recorded Andrena bicolor female (Gwynnes' Mining bee) on the left and middle, and also, what may be Andrena barbilabris (Sandpit Mining bee) on the right, at a sandy site - both species recorded in the Breconshire county.

It is not possible for me to say for certain, but there is a high chance that this species is A. barbilabris, although I would need to examine a specimen to be sure.

January 2022

The hornet nest from last year in the bird box is pictured above. I finally got up the courage to open the lid just in case there was a hibernating female inside! All seemed quiet, I'm pleased to say.

There have not been any signs of bees or wasps yet locally and no reported sightings coming in. There is a flowering Viburnum and Mahonia in my garden at the moment, so at least there is a nectar source if anything emerges. It remains generally mild with average temperatures in Radnorshire hovering around 8 c.

I'm looking forward to finding plenty of aculeates in the year ahead.

November 2021

In mid October Richard Knight photographed this female Lasioglossum species in his Radnorshire garden. Two days ago there was a Buff-tailed bumblebee collecting pollen from Salvia in my garden too. It seems late for this part of mid Radnorshire compared to past years. The Hornets in the garden have finished in the nest now, and it appears to have been 'raided' by Blue Tits.

Will this be the last of the bee sightings for this year? Time will tell.

Autumnal sightings - September 2021

October 20th

Worker bumblebees are still on the wing and gathering pollen today in between showers. I presume that there's an active nest still somewhere close by.

October 10th

It's currently 15c in my part of Radnorshire and the sun is out. The queen bumblebees are about too and the hornets are busy around the box in the garden. With no sign of frost yet, the nest will continue to be active and there are other insects about too to provide for them. Other folks are reporting plenty of bees and Keith Noble has recorded hornets too. I filmed the hornets in the garden last week and will download it soon to the website.

Photographs left to right from Phil Bennett: Buff-tailed queen and Ivy mining bee in Radnorshire. European Hornet: Keith Noble, Breconshire

European Hornet: Keith Noble

September 26th

The European Hornets in my garden are increasingly active. I presume that the nest is getting quite big inside this bird box.

September 20th

New Queens

Queen Buff-tailed bumblebees are out and about in Radnorshire

Photographs: Keith Noble

These fabulous photos above by Keith in Brecon, show solitary species of wasp, which will take invertebrate prey. The wasp top right, has a hoverfly in its grasp. This spell of sunny and warm whether is extending the time that these wasps are able to carry on this autumn. Female solitary wasps will provision a chamber that is either aerial or ground/plant stem with another insect that the larvae will eat upon hatching. They will often then pupate, emerging next year as an adult wasp.

There are some Hornets nesting in my garden at the moment and they were busy cruising around at the weekend, hunting insects. One Red Admiral was taken and I observed it having its wings removed, before the Hornet flew with it to the nest (in a bird box).

This photograph above is of a hoverfly that mimics a Hornet, called Volucella zonaria. There is another similar species as well, but its patterning is slightly different. Photo: Donna Chapman, Cwmdauddwr, Radnorshire.

The photos above were taken recently by Keith Noble in the Brecon area. Top left and middle are Lasioglossum albipes/calceatum. Difficult to separate without a very good close look, this species is typically found from late summer into the autumn. This Nomada species on the right seems quite late, although some species will have two, possibly three broods throughout the year.

August 2021

14 August

Coelioxys species: Richard Knight

This 'sharp-tailed bee, Coelioxys species, was recorded by Richard Knight from his garden in Radnorshire. There are 7 species found in the UK and they are cleptoparasites of Hairy-footed Flower bees and Leaf-cutter species.

I have seen them around the bee hotels in my garden (probably looking for Leaf-cutter nests). Usually they need to be examined closely to identify properly, but I suspect that this is Coelioxys inermis.

The females will use the tip of the abdomen to pierce the cell of the host to lay their eggs within.

July 2021

The highlight this month is this male Long-horned bee, discovered at a new, 4th site in Radnorshire. Discovered on a grass verge, it was close to suitable grassland habitat.

Eucera longicornis male: photograph Darylle Hardy

This lovely Gasteruption wasp (below) was found in Breconshire by Keith Noble recently. They are parasites of solitary bee species and can be seen 'lurking' around the nest sites. Females have long ovipositors, to insert into the nest and deposit their eggs.

June 2021

These images were captured this week in Radnorshire. The male Long-horned bee, Eucera longicornis is classed as Notable A (Falk, 1991). It has now been recorded at 3 sites in the county, and is so distinctive by its long antennae (only the male has this feature). They are a solitary nesting species, although they will nest in aggregations.

Long-horned bees have been recorded in Breconshire as well.

20 June


Hylaeus species inside a sheepskull. Photo: Keith Noble

Hylaeus bees. Photos: Keith Noble

These are very small bees and can be mistaken as flies due the their small size. They store the pollen collected in a crop, internally, not on the hind tibia or scopal hairs as is usual for most bee species. They are generally a hairless and aerial nesting species, using plant stems, vertical slopes and walls. The male on the left is most likely Hylaeus hyalinatus. The orange coloured antennae are visible (on the underside). There are 12 species in the UK and 700 worldwide.

Keith recorded these little bees in the Breconshire area. They are common and widespread.

13 June

Blue Mason bees, Osmia caerulescens, have been recorded 4 times in the Breconshire county and there are no records in Radnorshire thus far. The bee was recorded in 1991, 1993, 2018 and 2019 by reliable recorders and this year it has been photographed by Keith Noble in his Breconshire garden. They are using the bee hotel canes to nest in. The bees above are females.

Eyes peeled, recorders in Radnorshire!

The Stelis phaeoptera, also recently named the Plain Dark bee by Steven Falk, is flying about the Osmia leaiana nests again this year. Listed as RDB3 in 1987 and Vulnerable in 1991 (Falk), this lovely little cleptoparasite is quite distinctive to look at - and has only been recorded in Radnorshire twice before. There are no records for Breconshire yet.

6 June

The Mason bees, Osmia bicornis, are out of the tubes in my garden and bringing in pollen for the next generation. They will provision a cell with an egg and pollen store before closing the cell and sealing it with masticated earth/soil. They are visiting the Catmint flowers in the garden and some thistles mostly.

Female O.bicornis have 2 prongs on the face which they use to tamp down the soil when sealing up the nests. These prongs are visible with a hand lens and diagnostic features of this species (females only).

I have managed to get this photo today (below) of a female and a facial prong is visible.

May 2021

28 May

Osmia caerulescens, Blue Mason bee Photos: Keith Noble

The set of images above were recorded by Keith in his garden in the Brecon area, Vice County 42. May and June is the time to start seeing Osmia species in Mid Wales, so this is a lovely record. Distinctive by its green eyes, the male is sexually dimorphic from the female whom is darker and without the coloured eyes - they do look very different from each other. Osmia have a 'rounded' appearance to the body, have 2 submarginal cells in the forewing and are differentiated from Megachile species by having an arolium between the claws (a little 'pad'). Mason bees are aeriel nesting and may use bee hotels. Keep a look out for them - especially as some warmer weather is on the way.

18 May

This lovely set of photographs above are courtesy of Keith Noble from the Brecon area.

Left and middle: Melecta albifrons, Mourning bee. Right:Halictus rubicundus, Orange-legged Furrow bee.

Melecta albifrons is the cleptoparasite of Anthophora plumipes, or Hairy-footed Flower Bee. It enters the nest chamber of the Anthophora to lay its own eggs which will hatch to exploit the food supply and also will eat the larvae of the host.

Halictus rubicundus is a ground nesting species of bee that can nest either singly or in aggregations. They are common and widespread throughout the UK.

8 May

There is an aggregation of Andrena haemorrhoa on a bank in the garden at the moment, that interestingly were in the same place last year. I have noted around 30 bees around the area, travelling to and from their nesting chambers. The female above is cleaning her antennae.

This great photo above was sent in by Stephen Mullard from Radnorshire. It is Andrena nitida, and it appears to really be enjoying this dandelion. May is now host to the No Mow May campain, from Plantlife. By leaving your lawn, or some of it without cutting, it will allow simple flowers to bloom which helps our pollinating insects to collect much needed nectar.

Look at the length of this tongue! Garden bumblebee, Bombus hortorum is known to have a long tongue and that can be seen really well in this photo that I took this week in the garden.

2 May

May already! It remains generally cool in my area of Radnorshire. Frost prevails in the mornings and there have been sleet showers here in the mid-week. However, the bees are making the most of the sun when it appears. The first male Osmia bicornis, the Red Mason bee, has been logged in the garden this week, so nature carries on regardless.

Records this week have included Tree bumblebee, Red-tailed bumblebees, Common Carder, Ashy Mining bee and Early bumblebee.

Photos: Left top, Osmia bicornis. Top right, Tree bumblebee (melanic form) D. Baynham

Bottom left, Red-tailed bumblebee. Bottom right, Early bumblebee, D. Baynham.

April 2021

26 April

There have been some nice records coming in this past week. Andrena cineraria is still about, and this lovely capture below, was made recently by Phil Bennett in his garden.

The tri-coloured species of Nomada, featured below, far left, could be one of three. Either Nomada ruficornis ( which has a two-pronged mandible tip), Nomada flava or Nomada panzeri. All look similar in the field. They require a check with a hand lens, and it is essential to check the mandibles to be sure, to identify N. ruficornis. Thank you Dorothy Beynon.

The season is moving on, and the emergence of Red Mason bees, as pictured centrally below, is a sign of this. Once again, a visitor to Phil's Radnorshire garden.

This beauty of a queen German wasp, Vespula germanica, (far right) was photographed by Ben Mullen. Queens are especially distinctive with the black abdominal bands produced into large backward-directed triangles with black circles on each side. The nests of this species can be very large, and can persist until winter, as discovered by Bob Dennison who had a very large nest in his roof space last year.

There are 9 species of social wasp in the UK including the Hornet, Vespa crabro. The invasive, non-native Asian Hornet Vespa velutina, is unfortunately being recorded now in the UK, but mostly in southern English counties at present.

19 April

The female Nomada signata, the Broad-banded nomad bee was seen recently alongside the host, Andrena fulva, the Tawny Mining bee. It's good to see that this rarely recorded Nomada is being recorded in Mid Wales. Remember, that the yellow markings on the propodeum at the back of the bee is diagnostic of this species.

Andrena fulva Nomada signata, (both females). Photographs, Keith Noble

Recorded in Breconshire.

10 April

Spring Solitary Species To See and Record

Ashy Mining bee, Andrena cineraria, photo: Keith Noble

Following on from Keith's photos, captured this week, I would like to encourage folk to keep a look out for these easy to identify solitary species of bee. They will be on the wing now and are both widespread and common. The Ashy Mining bee will be found nesting in the ground, often in aggregations and favour bare soil patches. Male and female are similar, although males will look slightly slimmer than females.

Distribution Map of Ashy Mining bee, Breconshire and Radnorshire, Courtesy of BIS, 2020

Tawny Mining bee, Andrena fulva, photo by Keith Noble.

These distinctive, furry females (as above) are on the wing from March and are quite unmistakable. Males are slimmer and less red, with hairy 'banding' on the abdomen which is not as dense and will have projection at the base of long mandibles (Falk, 2015). There are six other male solitary bees that also have these projections too, so it isn't diagnostic.They will nest together in the ground in aggregations and are generally frequently recorded over much of lowland Britain.

Distrubution Map of Tawny Mining bee, Breconshire and Radnorshire. Courtesy of BIS, 2020

6 April

These 3 colourful solitary bees were recorded in the Breconshire garden of Keith Noble. What stunning little species these are!

Left to right:

Gwynne's Mining bee, Ashy Mining bee, Tawny Mining bee, (all female).

Andrena bicolor, Andrena cineraria, Andrena fulva

5 April

Bombyius canescens

Bombylius major

The above photos are not bees this time but 'bee flies'. There have been many sightings recently and I thought I would make a short post about them. The two species that I have recorded in my garden are pictured above. Bombylius canescens is usually recorded from May onwards and is classed as Nationally Scarce. Bombylius major, is our commonest UK bee fly, and is around earlier in spring.

Bee flies lay their eggs into the nests of solitary mining bees. To do this (in at least some of the species) the adult females collect dust or sand at the tip of their abdomen, using it to coat their eggs, which is thought to provide camouflage and perhaps also add weight to them. There are 12 recorded species in the British Isles.

The entomologist Steven Falk has a great online site about the bee fly species found in the UK. Do have a look at his Flickr page and if you see them, please record them and send the records to BIS or your local Records Centre.

1 April

There have been some lovely recent contributions to the Radnorshire and Breconshire database this week, as captured above.

From left to right:

A Hairy-Footed flower bee female, Gwynne's Mining bee female, and a queen Buff-tailed bumblebee. Thanks to Phil Bennett, Dorothy Baynham and Ben Mullen.

The season is progressing, with the recent warm weather, only to be plunged back into winter again this weekend. This is not good news for the solitary species, although bumblebees fare better in the cold due to their furry bodies. They will possibly be able to carry on feeding, unless it gets very cold and icy of course.

March 2021

28 March

This photograph was sent to me by Phil Bennett, from his garden in Radnorshire this week. It is a Nomad bee. It is commonly called Fabricius' Nomad bee, (Nomada fabriciana), a cleptoparasite of Gwynnes' mining bee ( Andrena bicolor). There are other mining bees that it will target, but mostly this species. This bee has two broods, one in spring and another in late summer.

Nomada fabriciana, female. Photo Phil Bennett

The female Nomad bees will enter the nests of the host bee and lay its own eggs. Once their larvae hatch they will consume the host's egg and the provisions for it themselves. The Nomad bee will eventually pupate and emerge as an adult from the nest chamber.

25 March 2021

Early bumblebee Male Andrena species

Although cool in the breeze today, where the sun was out, the bees were busy in the garden. Radnorshire.

21 March 2021

This amazing image has been sent to me today from Keith Noble from the Brecon area. The Andrena female has a Stylops attached to it. Stylops are endoparasites that will use the body of, solitary bees, usually Andrena species, to carry out their life cycle.

Mating occurs on the body of the host, the male inseminating the female through the brood canal which opens between her head and prothorax. Males are winged and females wingless, so presumably this is a male in Keith's photograph, looking to mate with a female stylops that is emerging from the body of the Andrena.

The eggs hatch inside the female’s body into minute triungulin larvae; these emerge from the brood canal and rapidly disperse using their simple legs; they can sometimes be found on flower-heads.

Once they have located a new host they burrow through its cuticle, moult into an apodous stage (basically, it is an animal without legs) and then feed on its haemolymph. Pupation occurs inside the host’s body, with larval skins forming a puparium, (Royal Entomological Society, 2021).

If you have a look at Stylops images online, there are many pictures of female Stylops insitu in the body of the host bee, protruding from the abdominal tergites. Great stuff!

21 March, 2021

The solitary species are coming out from their winter slumber and being recorded from all over the country now. Here is a pretty common species of Andrena or mining bee (this is a female) and it is reasonably easy to identify. Andrena haemorrhoa, or Orange-tailed Mining bee female has a small red tip (orange coloured hairs) to the end of the 'tail'. The thorax hair is a dark, 'foxy' red, and dark coloured hind tibia. It is difficult to see the hind leg in this photograph with the amount of pollen that this female has unfortunately.

Andrena haemorrhoa female

The male has lighter coloured hind legs, and a hair covered front face. Do look out for this species, anytime now. Males will have a brown hair, tipped tail-end. The abdomen is fairly hairless in both the male and female. The female will dig a chamber in the ground and it possible to see their nest sites as they usually leave evidence of their mining. They may nest together in aggregations.

Above, evidence of typical mining bee nesting activity.

Andrena haemorrhoa, female. Orange-tailed MIning bee.