I've been reading about a new species of bee in this article in the Telegraph written by Ken Thompson. It’s not really a new species; this bee is a Tree Bumble (Bombus hypnorum) from Europe and like its name suggests lives in trees, unlike our other species which tend to live in nests in the ground.
The experts believe that the Tree Bumble has made its way to our shores over the past 10 years, arriving under its own steam across the Channel from France and Belgium. It has not been introduced artificially by us, so it’s not an invasive species. As Ken says in the article “technically that makes the tree bumblebee a native species, because it spread naturally from an area where it was already native”. It’s not a threat to our other species that tend to live in the ground, and is unlikely to compete with them for homes or other resources. Actually six of our native species are doing quite well, although some British bumble bee species have been in decline.
Bombus Hypnorum hasn’t quite colonised all of the UK, yet. The Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society are recording sightings of this Bee, so if you have seen it please let them know, especially if you are in Scotland, Ireland or the Isle of Man. It’s very distinctive; it has a ginger thorax, black abdomen and white tail and as bees go, looks quite fluffy and cute.
I actually found one on my Mum's Cotoneaster plant today - I'll try to capture a picture of it over the weekend.
If you would like to read more about Bumblebees follow this link to the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust.
|WANTED: Bombus Hypnorum - photo from the article in the Telegraph mentioned earlier|
|A Map of the UK from www.bwars.com showing the spread of Tree Bumbles up to 2011|