Nature Blog Network

Bees

There are a sprinkling of bees in Springhill and I have so far identified the small garden bee (Bombus hortorum), the white-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum), buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestrial) and honey bee (Apis mellifera) as being present on the lane or in an accessible garden. I am aware that there are deep discussions amongst bee experts on the criteria for separation of white-tailed and buff-tailed bumble bees, these are given in good faith.

I am no bee expert and so could only learn when my copy of 'The bees, wasps and ants of Lancashire' (Lancashire and Cheshire Fauna Society 2021) landed through my door. And learn I certainly did. I had no idea that at least 128 species of bee had been recorded in Lancashire. I had a vague appreciation that some bees were not social but didn't know that the majority of Lancashire species were solitary. I had only the vaguest appreciation that some species were parasitic.

What really surprised me however was that only two species, the tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum) and the bilberry bumblebee (bombs monticola), were described as having been recorded in Rossendale. Having personally seen at least three other species in the area I strongly suspect this reflects an absence of recorders as much as an absence of bees. I have reflected on this previously regarding bat surveys and it is a reminder again that in any field the data is only as good as that which is collected and preserved.

I now have my two target species for this summer however, the tree bumblebee and the bilberry bumblebee. Bilberries are quite common in the area so there are plenty of places to look. We know you're there!

And that's before we start on the wasps and ants.