Scarce bee discovered in Wales for the first time

Tuesday 18th August 2020

Buglife are pleased to report the discovery of the Carrot Mining Bee (Andrena nitidiuscula) in Wales for the very first time! Buglife Cymru staff undertaking bee surveys as part of the ‘Searching for Scabious’ project made the discovery during a recent visit to Lavernock Point Nature Reserve – a Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW) reserve in the Vale of Glamorgan, south Wales.

The Carrot Mining Bee is just one of around 180 bee species known from Wales and is so-called because of its strong association with the flowers of Wild Carrot (Daucus carota), from which it collects pollen.  Formerly restricted to the southern counties of England, this scarce bee has never before been seen in Wales – until now.

Liam Olds, Conservation Officer for Buglife Cymru, and who made the discovery said “Though unexpected, finding this scarce bee in Wales is very exciting and a fantastic output for our ‘Searching for Scabious’ project. This discovery highlights how little is still known about the bee fauna of Wales and how valuable funded projects such as our ‘Searching for Scabious’ project can be. Not only is this project improving our understanding of the distribution and conservation status of some of Wales’ most threatened bees associated with scabious-rich habitats, it is also discovering species never before seen in Wales. Now that the Carrot Mining Bee has been discovered at Lavernock Point, we hope to work with the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales to ensure this bee continues to flourish at this beautiful nature reserve.”

The ‘Searching for Scabious’ project, funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery, aims to raise awareness of some of Wales’ most threatened bee species associated with scabious plants. Through the project, sites across south Wales supporting scabious-rich habitat are being searched in the hope of discovering these bees. These surveys will provide us with up-to-date species records and distribution data to inform management on the ground and improve the prospects for these threatened wild bees. For further information on the project, visit the project webpage.