Southern Marsh Orchids

Southern Marsh Orchids

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Colletes hederae at Barry Island

I was at Barry Island today and noticed the colony of the 'Ivy bee', Colletes hederae, which I found here last year, is going strong, with plenty of adults active around burrows in the sandy soil at the back of the promenade.
Colletes hederae
Colletes hederae burrows
This bee only colonised Britain in 2001, but has already spread across much of southern England. Ian Tew has found it on Gower and at Porthcawl, see:
Apart from the colony at Barry there are no other known colonies in Wales to the east of Porthcawl, but there must be others out there. It is unusual for a solitary bee in being active so late in the year, as it specialises in taking pollen from Ivy flowers. It is also quite large and with obvious stripes on the abdomen, and hence is quite easy to recognise. BWARS have a mapping scheme for this species which includes a distribution map:

They would be delighted to receive any further Welsh records.

1 comment:

  1. Nice photos George! These are definately the beasts I mentioned on the moth blog a few days ago. I wonder of the distribution of this species is constrained by the availability of soil that is sufficiently sandy to allow burrowing, or perhaps it needs exposed substrate to keep warm enough in the limited sunshine at this time of year for the larvae to develop?