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Wales Threatened Bee Report

The Wales Threatened Bee Report is the first report of its kind to examine the status of threatened bees in Wales. The report has assessed the status of 26 of Wales’ most threatened wild bees and aims to focus efforts to conserve these species. 

Wild bees and other pollinators face many pressures in our modern landscapes, from habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation, to pesticides and pollution, climate change, and disease. Moreover, these pressures rarely act in isolation. They have caused severe declines in wild bees and other pollinators across the UK, raising concerns about the under-pollination of many wildflowers and food crops, and wider biodiversity and ecosystem stability.

Large mason bee (Osmia xanthomelana) is confined to a small stretch of the Llŷn Peninsula and is threatened with extinction in the UK © Natural Resources Wales/Mike Hammett.

Large mason bee (Osmia xanthomelana) is confined to a small stretch of the Llŷn Peninsula and is threatened with extinction in the UK © Natural Resources Wales/Mike Hammett.

What is the role of Wales?

 

Wales is home to nationally rare and threatened bee species and for some, Wales supports the last known populations in the UK. Surrounded by sea on three sides, Wales has extensive and varied coastlines which are an extremely important habitat for many bee species, as well as a diversity of other invertebrates. Wales also has extensive grasslands, brownfields, heaths and moorland, which at a landscape scale result in unique habitat mosaics. As such, conditions in Wales differ from elsewhere in the UK, resulting in a distinctive assemblage of bees.

 

The Wales Threatened Bees Report identifies our most threatened bee species in Wales and reveals trends in these species in Wales. The report has identified species losses in each of the thirteen vice-counties in Wales, evidence that the decline in our wild bees is a Wales-wide problem. Alarmingly, seven species have been completely lost from Wales, with many others experiencing significant and continuing range contractions. Five species are currently at risk of extinction, and , and urgent action is needed to safeguard these species in Wales, including the Large mason bee (Osmia xanthomelana).

 

Better understanding Wales’ wild bees

 

The Wales Threatened Bee Report aims to increase our understanding of threatened bees in Wales - including their life-cycles and distribution - to better inform local and national conservation efforts. It also recommends a series of actions to support the conservation of threatened species and is therefore a means to support delivery of the outcomes listed within the Action Plan for Pollinators in Wales.

 

The Wales Threatened Bee Report works alongside our B-Lines Initiative, helping wild bees and other pollinating insects by connecting and restoring flower-rich habitats across the countryside. B-Lines have now been mapped across all of Wales and are a resource to be used by everyone to prioritise and target action on the ground. By linking these projects and working with other organisations and landowners, Buglife aims to create more suitable habitat and reverse the decline of threatened bees in Wales.

 

Our thanks to the Bees Wasps and Ants Recording Scheme (BWARS), Local Environment Records Centres Wales (LERC Wales), Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT), and numerous individuals who contributed to the report.

 

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