Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre

Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society Launch New Website

Tree Bee Steve Covey/ WWT

Despite being some of the most important animals on our planet insects such as bees, wasps and ants are often overlooked in the record books. Many species, including humans, rely on such insects for our survival and therefore we cannot underestimate the importance of their study.

Bees, wasps and ants belong to the aculeates, part of the immense insect order Hymenoptera. They are identifiable by their sting, a modified egg-laying ovipositor, and by behavior with most species hiding larva and food provisions.

There are some 560 aculeate species in Britain, many of which are important pollinators. The new Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society (BWARS) website  exists to promote the understanding of these species and add to distributional and biological information held. To this end factsheets on each British and Irish species of bee, wasp or ant can be found on the website along with information on on-going surveys.

Currently surveying is focusing on the Tree Bee (Bombus hypnorum) first recorded in the UK in 2001 right here in Wiltshire at Landford. At its peak of activity in late May and early June the BWARS has been recording its spread since its arrival and is once again asking for any sightings to be reported.

A distinctive species the Tree Bee has a solid ginger thorax, with no yellow or black bands, a black abdomen and white tail. Sightings of Tree Bees can be reported on-line on the BWARS Report a Tree Bee Sighting page. Records should include a grid reference or postcode, date, the recorder and where possible a photo to allow for verification.

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