Submitted by AJ Cann on Mon, 04/09/2017 - 06:19

Ivy Bee

It's time for the annual NatureSpot Ivy Bee Appeal - help us find Colletes hederae.

For the past couple of years we have been looking for the Ivy Bee (Colletes hederae) in Leicestershire and Rutland. We know it's headed this way (latest distribution map), but with a flight period of only six weeks from mid-September to the start of November, there's a small window to spot it. Please have a close look at large stands of flowering Ivy over the next few weeks. Any Honeybee-sized bees with broad pale bands on the abdomen are likely to be this species. The banding on the abdomen of fresh specimens has a distinct orange hue which fades in older specimens.

They often visit flowering Ivy in large numbers to collect pollen but you might also see large concentrations of this mining bee in soft, crumbly banks and cliffs.  Males may be seen in frenzied mating clusters as they "mob" females emerging from their nests. So please check any suitable location - this is going to be the Year of the Ivy Bee!