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Rare bees cause a buzz as they return to nest
1:00pm Saturday 12th October 2013 in News
A NEST of rare bees has returned to the same Oxfordshire spot for the second year running. And it is thought the colony found in Wallingford is one of the most northerly recorded in the country since the Ivy bees were first spotted in Dorset in 2001. The bees, or collettes hederae, were discovered at Howbery Park by Dr Alan Brampton when he was taking a stroll.
The 65-year-old, who works at HR Wallingford, noticed the burrowing bees in a sand bank at the business park, in Wallingford, and sent a picture of them to iSpot, a nature forum, to be identified.
Dr Brampton, of Blacklands Road, Benson, said he first saw the bees nesting in the same spot, the sandy bank on the site, last September. He added: “At the time when I first found them they were the most northerly sightings of the bee.
“They are active again this year which is a really good sign. I think we are just going to leave them to it and hope they stay for another year. I hoped they would survive.
“It could be that they are coming to the UK in a response to the warmer summers and milder winters.”
Experts believe climate change could be the reason for the bees coming over to the UK as they thrive in warmer weather. They are mining bees and often nest in clay-sandy soils. They forage on ivy plants, which only flowers in September and unlike other bees, do not live in colonies and are rather solitary.
They remain until about November and do not hibernate over winter.
The Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society (BWARS) said it is thought the bees had made their way from the Italian region of the Alps and across France to the UK.
BWARS chairman Stuart Roberts said: “The fact they have spread so rapidly could be down to the warming climate.
“Ivy, which the species forages on, only flowers late in the year and there is plenty of ivy here.
“We are now seeing them as far up as north Worcestershire and more reports seem to coming in.”
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