Friday, 12 September 2014

Very rare bees found on new Cornish Bartinney Nature Reserve

Two very rare species of bee have been discovered on the new Bartinney Nature Reserve near Sennen in west Penwith, reports the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

The tormentil nomad bee (Nomada robertjeotiana) is so rare that it is only currently known at one other site in the south west, near Davidstow.

This species uses the nests of another rare bee, the tormentil mining bee (Andrena tarsata), known to only three UK sites and also discovered at Bartinney. Both are moorland species that have undergone a dramatic decline since the 1970s.

Paddy Saunders, the invertebrate expert who discovered both species of bee during a survey for Natural England said: “The tormentil mining bee needs lots and lots of flowering tormentil very near to nest sites, from which to collect pollen to feed their larvae that live in small chambers slightly underground.

“It is unusual to find such big colonies of tormentil mining bee and the Trust’s Bartinney Nature Reserve, with its big drifts of flowering tormentil, is clearly an important site for them.

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