cats ear mining bee


Two rare bee species, absent locally for decades, have resurfaced thriving at a nature reserve in Walsall.

Cats Ear Mining and Nomad bees were sighted by a researcher at Barr Beacon Local Nature Reserve, marking a significant rediscovery, as noted by University of Birmingham PhD student Aaron Bhambra.

“There are only a handful of sites in the region where both species are known to be found together,” he said.

Bhambra described the bees as “very distinctive” with golden abdominal hairs.

He added that this emphasised the importance of suburban green spaces.

“We’ve been monitoring the site for two years now,” he said. “To have both of them in one site is very interesting.”

Walsall Council highlighted the near-threatened status of both species in Britain and attributed their resurgence to ongoing conservation efforts.

Over the past two decades, the council has restored heathland at the reserve, fostering an environment conducive to ground-nesting bees.

Councillor Gary Flint praised the council’s commitment to conservation, noting the site’s role in the Purple Horizons Nature Recovery Project.

“With only a handful of sites in the West Midlands known to harbour good numbers of both species of bee, Barr Beacon has emerged as a critical sanctuary,” he said.

Project manager Chloe Hardman commended collaborative efforts aimed at habitat restoration between Cannock Chase and Sutton Park.

“Knowing that our actions are helping these threatened bee species to survive gives our partnership a real boost. “



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