Over two days on June 7th and 8th, Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Buglife Cymru welcomed local volunteers to build their knowledge and skills over the course of two bumblebee ID days in Magor. During Thursday's beginners course, the group of 15 volunteers were delighted to positively ID the rare shrill carder bee (Bombus sylvarum)- one of the nation's rarest bumblebees which is now confined to only a handful of sites in South Wales and Southern England. On the following day, during the Intermediate ID course, the 13 volunteers found brown banded carder bee (Bombus pascuorum), another rarity as well as ashy mining bee (Andrena cineraria). In total, the group recorded 8 species at the site and found queens, workers and males of a range of species. A number of the volunteers who attended the events expressed an interest in setting up BeeWalk transects in the Gwent Levels and further afield which will be a great opportunity to gather valuable data on the distribution of rarities like the shrill carder bee. Look out for more opportunities to get involved with BeeWalks and other activities to safeguard the future of Gwent Levels pollinators!
Pollinating the Levels Project
The shrill carder bee was once widespread throughout southern England and lowland Wales, favouring wildflower habitats such as sand dunes, well established grasslands and heathlands but habitat is now disappearing and the Gwent Levels is one of only a few strongholds for the species. The Living Levels Pollinating the Levels Project aims to sure up habitat for this species to ensure its survival into the future and combat the trend in fragmenting its habitat by connecting up areas of wildflower rich habitat across the landscape. For more information, please visit the project page.