The Bee, Wasp and Ant Recording Society (BWARS) is asking people to look out for the Ivy Bee (Colletes hederae), and to e-mail them details of any records, preferably with photographs. The Ivy Bee was recorded as new to Britain in 2001 at Langton Matravers in Dorset. Since then, the bee has spread across much of southern England, and is now extremely plentiful in some coastal localities, and increasingly inland.
Peak activity matches the flowering period of its key pollen forage plant, Ivy, and the species is on the wing from mid-September until early November. This makes it the last solitary bee species to emerge each year. BWARS has been mapping the spread since its discovery 8 years ago.
Look for bees collecting pollen from ivy. It’s an easy bee to identify (see the photo above). It is as large as, or larger than a honeybee, and the banding on the abdomen of fresh specimens has a distinct orange hue. This fades in older specimens.