Cornwall

Two rare bee species discovered on Cornwall nature reserve

Tormentil mining bee. Pic: Paddy Saunders Image copyright Paddy Saunders
Image caption Tormentil mining bees collect tormentil pollen to feed their larvae

Two rare species of bee have been discovered on a nature reserve in Cornwall, a wildlife trust says.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust said the tormentil nomad and the tormentil mining bees had been found at its Bartinney reserve near Sennen.

Both are moorland species that had seen "dramatic declines" since the 1970s, it said.

The mining bee collects tormentil pollen to feed larvae, and the nomad bee steals the mining bee's nests.

Underground chambers

Both species were discovered during a survey being carried out by Paddy Saunders for Natural England.

He said: "The tormentil mining bee needs lots and lots of flowering tormentil very near to nest sites, from which to collect pollen to feed their larvae that live in small chambers slightly underground.

"The nomad bee is a 'cuckoo' bee and goes into the nests of tormentil mining bee and steals its nest and stored pollen."

He added: "It needs a big tormentil mining bee colony to sustain a population of the nomad, so it is a super rare bee.

"The fact that Bartinney Nature Reserve supports both these rare bees is very significant."

Liz Cox, from the trust, said staff and volunteers were "absolutely delighted" two such important species had been found.

Image copyright Steven Faulk
Image caption Tormentil nomad bees steal nests and pollen from the mining bees

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