Yet another first for me since specifically going out to look for one type of bee.
Description and notes
Of the three species of Macropis which occur in western Europe, only one, M. europaea, is found in Britain. This species is unique in this country for having females which provision their nests with fatty floral oils, in addition to pollen.
Status (in Britain only)
Listed as Rare (RDB3) in Shirt (1987), and as Nationally Notable (Na) in Falk (1991). Work for this Atlas suggests that its status should be reviewed.
Wetland sites supporting the main forage plant, yellow loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris). Hence this bee is to be found in fens, bogs and alongside rivers and canals.
Univoltine; mid July to early September, the flight period being very closely synchronised with the flowering of the main host plant.
Nest burrows are excavated in the soil, generally in banks or slopes. The burrow entrances are usually well concealed by overhanging vegetation and are thus rarely observed Nests normally occur in loose aggregations (M Edwards and S Falk, pers. comm.). Nests have been described by both Malyshev (1929) and Phipps (1948) (both as M. labiata). These authors noted that the cells were lined with a yellowish wax-like, waterproof substance which may have been derived from yellow loosestrife floral oil. Larvae and pupae have been described by Rozen & McGinley (1974).
In addition to the forage species listed above, the bee has been observed visiting (as nectar sources) bird’s-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.), tormentil (Potentilla erecta), agrimony (Agrimonia sp.), great willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum), hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium), mint (Mentha sp.), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense), knapweed (Centaurea sp.), rough hawkbit (Leontodon hispidum), sow-thistle (Sonchus sp.), water chickweed (Myosoton aquaticum) and water-plantain (Alisma lanceolata)…BWARS