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Keep a lookout for Ivy bees!
Those recorders who have enjoyed watching the antics of the Tree bumblebee might be interested to know that another new bee appears to be making its way northwards.
Colletes hederae, the Ivy bee, was only officially described in 1993, having previously been recorded as the similar-looking Colletes succinctus or Colletes halophilus. Fortunately the behaviour of the Ivy bee is distinctive. It does prefer ivy, and flies very late in the season when few other bees are around.
Ivy bees burrow in warm, light soil, often sandy, typically on south-facing banks such as scuffed, mown grassland. Whilst not social as such, you can find lots of bees and burrows together in one place. They are late-flyers, appearing from September through to November.
Even if you can’t find burrows, a look at some ivy flowers may reveal the bees. Look for the distinctive clear, pale stripes!
Photo: Ivy bees
living up to their name
The first Ivy bee record for the UK was in 2001, on the Dorset coast near Swanage. Since then, records have come from most of the southern English counties, and not much further north than Bristol. There’s only a few unconfirmed records from Gloucestershire so far, but this year could reveal more - you can help!
Please tell GCER if you think you’ve seen Ivy bees in the county.
If you want to try out an online recording facility, the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society (BWARS) has teamed up with Living Record. Click here to join Living Record (very easy) and add your sightings
2010 distribution map
Click on the map to see the latest Ivy bee records from the National Biodiversity Network
INTERESTED IN RECORDING IVY BEES?