Mimumesa unicolor – Garden

Today I have pinned a windowsill fatality a small wasp which when keyed out turned out to be the scarce / rare Mimumesa unicolor a good record for Cambridge

Photo courtesy of BWARS

Advertisements

Stelis phaeoptera-Garden -Rare

I have seen about three of these in my garden I am assuming that they are using the many Osmia leaiana as hosts.

SONY DSC

Description and notes
Since recording began this has always been considered a rare cleptoparasitic bee, but during this century it has decreased alarmingly.

Distribution
Formerly widely distributed in England, mainly south of a line extending from the Severn to the Wash, with additional records from Monmouthshire (Hallett, 1956). Recent records are only from a few scattered localities in England (especially in Devon) and south Wales. The reason for the decline is unknown. In Europe, the species is found from southern Finland to Greece, and into Asia It also occurs in North Africa (Morocco).
Status (in Britain only)
Listed as Rare (RDB3) by Shirt (1987). Provisionally listed as Vulnerable (pRDB2) by Falk (1991). Owing to the paucity of recent records, the status should be reviewed.
Habitat
Many of the modern Devon records are of bees flying about or alighting on cob walls, these perhaps containing the nest burrows of its host species (megachiline bees).
Flight period
Univoltine; from late May to mid August (rarely September).
Nesting biology
The host species of this Stelis have not been confirmed for Britain. Jones (1932) removed a female S. phaeoptera from a nest burrow of Osmia leaiana at Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire. However, other megachiline species may also be hosts of this cleptoparasite in Britain.
Flowers visited
Bird’s-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), field scabious (Knautia arvensis), hawkweed (Hieracium sp.), spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare) and speedwell (Veronica sp.).

 

Andrena labialis – County rare

Andrena labialis male

This is a fairly frequent but localised species in southern England (but rare in East Anglia and SW England) with records extending north to Yorkshire and thinly into Wales. It is a species of legume-rich habitats including clover-rich pasture, old quarries, brownfield sites and woodland rides and clearings. It flies from May to July and gathers pollen from legumes such as clovers, vetches and bird’s-foot trefoils.

Andrena labialis female

Another first for me

Andrena nigrospina – 2017 highlight- Rare

Possibly the first record of this bee in Cambridgeshire

This species is the rarer of the two formerly known as A. pilipes or A. carbonaria. It has a single flight period which occurs in May and June between the two broods of A. pilipes sens. str. Andrena nigrospina has shown a very marked decline in distribution since the mid 20th century, although quantifying this is very difficult as many of the records do not now have specimens to back them up and so cannot be re-examined. Examination of male genitalia is necessary for determination, and specimens flying in June are thought most likely to be this species,

Distribution
Central and southern England, with modern records coming from Surrey, Staffordshire and Worcestershire.
It is widely distributed in Central Europe.
Status (in Britain only)
As the split in the two species post-dates both the Red Data Book (Shirt, 1987) and the Review (Falk, 1991) this species is not currently listed. It is clear, however, that its status should be reviewed.
Habitat
There is possibly some association with sandy areas.
Flight period
May to June.
Nesting biology
Nests in aggregations in bare soil at the Staffordshire locality (G Trevis, pers. comm.). Elsewhere in Europe it has been reported as nesting singly.
Flowers visited
In Surrey this species has been found visiting flowers of hoary mustard, rape and groundelder (Baldock, 2008) and G Knight (pers. comm.) found males flying around flowering broom in Staffordshire.
Parasites
A very dark and structurally distinct form of what otherwise appears to be Nomada fulvicornis Fabricius has been identified as being associated with this species in the Staffordshire area (Falk, 2005).

Nomada ferruginata – Lode- Rare

This is a rare species with scattered records as far north as the Midlands and north Norfolk. It attacks Andrena praecox and flies at the same time (usually April when the pussy-willow is in blossom).

Status (in Britain only)
Listed as Endangered (RDB1) in the British Red Data Book (Shirt 1987) and by Falk (1991). Recent data suggests this status needs revision
Habitat
Sites include open deciduous woodland, the coast (as at Dungeness, east Kent) and open sites where the host species occurs.
Flight period
Univoltine; mid April (exceptionally March) to mid May.
Nesting biology
A cleptoparasite of the mining bee Andrena praecox (Perkins 1919; Chambers 1949; Westrich 1989). It is only found with a small number of populations of this host species. Chambers (1949) also lists Andrena varians as a possible host.
Flowers visited
Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria), black currant (Ribes nigrum), sallow (Salix sp.) and dandelion (Taraxacum sp.).

Bombus rupestris – Dartmoor

Status (in Britain only)
Listed as a Notable (B) species Falk (1991) [now known as Scarce (Nb)], but becoming more abundant.
Habitat
Although its host is a frequent species in gardens, most records relate to areas of unimproved grasslands
Flight period
The females do not usually come out of hibernation until late May or June and can be seen searching for host nests during the latter month. The new generation of adults emerges in late July or August
Nesting biology
In early summer, each female Bombus rupestris enters an established nest of B. lapidarius where it attacks and kills the resident queen. The parasite then establishes itself as the “queen” in the nest with its complement of B. lapidarius workers. The female B. rupestris lays female, and then male eggs that will be reared by the B. lapidarius workers. Once egg laying is completed, the female B. rupestris dies in the nest.
Flowers visited
Mainly plants in the families Apiaceae, Lamiaceae and Asteraceae…. BWARS

Macropis europaea (Yellow-loosestrife Bee)-Rare-Lode

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.
Habitat
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.
Flight period
Univoltine; mid July to early September, the flight period being very closely synchronised with the flowering of the main host plant.
Nesting biology
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).
Flowers visited
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