keep an eye out for Britain’s newest bee this Autumn

female ivy mining bee arrives with pollen

In the autumn of 2001, a small discovery was made in Dorset. It was a very small discovery in fact – only around a centimetre long.  It was the first sighting of a new bee species, the Ivy mining bee, in Britain. In fact, the Ivy mining bee is so easily overlooked that it was only discovered as a species just over 30 years ago in 1993. So when a friend of mine offered to show me some in Wiltshire,

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the Superhero you’ve never heard of

two-coloured mason bee

This week I watched one of Britain’s unsung superheroes, a miniature marvel: the two-coloured mason bee. A sunny weekend in May is the best time to see these bees. But you will have to look closely, as mason bees are tiny things, smaller than your little fingernail, topping out at a fraction over a centimetre from nose to tail. The two-coloured mason bee is, as its name subtly implies, two-coloured, with a black head and thorax (front end) and a

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A matter of determination

wild bee hive in cabin walls

Ravensroost wood, Wiltshire Inevitably, it rained. In the summer that has been no summer, on the day of the Wimbledon and European Cup final, the wood sat brooding and silent, caught in a long exhale, even the birds subdued into near silence. There was a tension to the air, a sense of sense of expectation, and I had barely set foot past the gate when the rain began. Desultory stuff, an unambitious but persistent drizzle, the grasses bowing before me,

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