BWARS forum - first, please read this

This forum is a place to discuss matters related to BWARS and general matters related to aculeates.

 

It is not intended as a forum for identification queries. We may add this feature in due course, but meanwhile, if you need help identifying bees, wasps and ants, please use either iSpot or the BWARS forum on Yahoo.

 

South West Bees Report published online by Buglife

The South West Bees Report researched 23 species considered to be at risk in the UK, twenty are declining whilst three have become extinct. The report can be downloaded from Buglife's website here

Andrena nigroaenea nesting habits

I've been noticing Andrena nigroaenea females entering holes in the stone wall of my house. I think they are holes have been used by Anthophora plumipes and Osmia bicornis in the past. I've always assumed that Andrenas were primarily ground-nesting bees; there is a small colony A. nigroaenea using an adjacent garden area.

Is the use of vertical stone walls by Andrena bees reported commonly? I personally haven't seen other Andrena species doing this. Or could it be that they are just using the holes for "roosting"?

Andrena clarkella in Warwickshire

Following Nigel's post, I visited a known Andrena clarkella nest-site at the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust site at Brandon Marsh today. Lots of males active. There was no sign of activity when I visited on the 18th February.

[I created a new Topic because I couldn't see how to attach a photograph to a forum reply. Is this possible?]

Andrena clarkella on the wing

News from Ian Cheeseborough who has seen a few Andrena clarkella males emerged from nests at Ellesmere in north Shropshire today. This is our earliest ever Shropshire sighting by 13 days.

 

Anyone else seen anything?

Mischievous wasp

This Bombus hortorum was quietly foraging, minding its own business, when a wasp landed, crept up behind and bit it. Bombus despatched the wasp with a swift kick without bothering to turn round. There were many unoccupied flowers on this cirsium so I can only assume this wasp was having a laugh! I am very fond of these pesky insects and have been observing their interactions with flies and butterflies around fruit. They allow certain flies in to share, but not others - this for another post.

Workshop: Starting Aculeates

Tutors: Mike Edwards (Midhurst) & Graham Collins (South Croydon).

An introduction to collecting, curating and identifying bees, wasps and ants with special tuition on identifying solitary wasps to genus and spider-hunting wasps (Pompilids) to species. Introductory keys will be available as well as demonstrations of how to handle, mount and label specimens for a reference collection.

Venue: Dinton Pastures Country Park, Davis Street, Hurst, near Reading

Display Date: 
Saturday 5 April 2014
Sort Date: 
Sat, 05/04/2014

Bumblebee Identification

Sheringham Park, Norfolk (National Trust).

Saturday 7th June 10.30am – 4.00pm.

This workshop will cover the identification of bumblebees based on field work, photographs and inspection of live specimens. The day will also provide guidance about the conservation of bumblebees and how to encourage them in your garden.
 

Cost £20. To book please ring the National Trust on 01263 820550.
 

Tutors Nick Owens and Rob Coleman.

Display Date: 
7 June 2014
Sort Date: 
Sat, 07/06/2014

Solitary bee that did n't want to be a 'take away' meal for a solitary wasp family!

Solitary bee that did n't want to be a 'take away' meal for a solitary wasp family! video http://bit.ly/1m19frV

Possibly Andrena similis and possibly Ectemnius continuus? Was filming the pollinator activity at a few parsnips I had left to flower as an insect attractant... very busy and very interesting... another video on that though some other time! Hopefully some one more experienced in these matters may let me know the ID of both species? Thanks, George Pilkington

Formica fusca workers active in winter

Today (11 January 2014) I turned over some fallen tree limbs on a small patch of chalk grassland on the edge of the Chilterns, and was surprised to a few actively moving workers of Formica fusca. The books I have don't seem to say much about winter activity in worker ants, and John Pontin's "Ants of Surrey" suggests that Formica spp. don't normally have over-wintering workers. Is it unusual to find these? We've certainly had a mild winter here so far, and there was still some warmth in the afternoon sun.

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