Mid Wales Bees and Wasps
A Review of 2021
Overall, bee and wasp records this year have seemed to reflect weather patterns as more were reported during dry, settled spells.
Nomada signata, Keith Noble
In April, Tawny Mining bee, Andrena fulva was recorded with its cleptoparasite nearby. Tawny Mining bee are common and widespread in distribution but Nomada signata is a Red Data Book 2 species, classed as Vulnerable (Falk, 1991). Luckily, Keith Noble in Brecon, managed to photograph both.
Eucera longicornis, male, Radnorshire
July 2021 was an exceptional month for our local bee records, as there were two new recorded sites for the Long-horned bee, Eucera longicornis, in Radnorshire. Both were near to Rhayader, approximately seven miles from the town clock in two opposing directions.
This species is especially fond of vetches and red clover, and is often recorded in open woodland glades, coastal sites and occasionally heathland (BWARS, 2021). Interestingly, both males were seen flying in two grass verges. However, local to these verges, are suitable herb rich grassland.
Long-horned bees will usually nest in aggregations, in friable earth, exposed to the sun which helps to keep these nesting sites warm. They can overwinter as adults apparently and have also been found in the nest chambers in larval cocoons.
Males Long-horned bees have exceptionally long antennae, as shown above, and each segment is longer than other male species of bee. There are two species of Long-horned bee in the UK, however, Eucera nigrescens has not been recorded in Britain since 1970 and is probably extinct.
They can be on the wing from May until August, so do keep an eye out next year as they may be more in the county than previously thought.
Coelioxys species: Richard Knight
In August, Richard Knight photographed a Sharp-tailed bee from his garden in Radnorshire which most probably was Coelioxys inermis. This species is widespread and common and is a cleptoparasite of Megachile bees.
There have been some unusual records this autumn from across the UK of bees that are usually recorded in springtime. In September, Pete and Ginny Clarke caught and keyed out Orange-tailed Mining bee, Andrena haemorrhoa which is either late or exceedingly early for next year.