RARE bumblebees have been found at a Vale nature reserve.
The Shrill carder bees, which are on the brink of extinction, have been found at the Cadoxton Ponds Nature Reserve next to the Dow Corning manufacturing site at Barry.
Conservation Officers from the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales made the discovery through its partnership with Dow Corning and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.
The Shrill carder (Bombus sylvarum) is named because of its characteristic high pitched buzz and is one of the two rarest bumblebees in the UK.
Sinead Lynch, BBCT Conservation Officer (Wales), said: “This was an exciting discovery because the range of the Shrill carder bee in the UK is very limited and this record shows that this particular population extends from Chepstow in the east, all the way to Barry in the west – a distance of nearly 50km. This also means that the gap between the nearest population to the west is slightly smaller.”
They came across the bumblebees when they found the Shrill carder bee’s favourite plant the Red bartsia.
Vaughn Matthews, WTSWW conservation officer, said: “We had surveyed almost the entire site, finding five common bumblebee species, before we eventually found a likely-looking patch of Red bartsia. After a couple of minutes searching Sinead managed to carefully catch a smallish sandy-coloured bumblebee which on close inspection turned out to be a Shrill carder bee – an exciting result and an important addition to the known range of this rare species. We eventually located at least three others and we’ll be back later in the summer to try to locate some of the males, which are easier to photograph.
“This exciting discovery shows the importance of creating, protecting and managing land for wildlife. The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales manages a diverse array of habitats in over 90 nature reserves to benefit a range of species from badgers to bumblebees.”
This latest discovery is vitally important as bumblebees provide the important pollination of plants, unfortunately, numbers of all bee’s are in decline with the decrease of flowering plants in the countryside leading to a lack of pollen and nectar for them to survive.