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Rare Bee Recorded at the University of Worcester

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A rare bee, found mainly in rural areas, has been recorded at the University of Worcester during a student workshop.

The bee, Nomada lathburiana, currently listed as a Red Data Book species, was found during a survey at the University's leafy St John’s Campus with Worcestershire Biological Records Centre (WBRC). A Red Data Book species is an organism that can be found on the list of rare and endangered species.

Senior Lecturer in Ecology and Environmental Management, Dr Duncan Westbury, said: “The presence of such an important and interesting species is certainly a bonus for those at the University promoting biodiversity, but it is also a testament to the grounds team and their sympathetic management.”

Nomada lathburiana is a cleptoparasite of Andrena cineraria (ashy mining bee) – in other words it lives off the ashy mining bee.

Dr Westbury said: “We were already aware that the ashy mining bee was living on campus, but then to record a rare bee that is parasitic on this species was a wonderful outcome of the entire workshop.

“Regular recording and monitoring of species will continue throughout the year and hopefully we will find further hidden gems - our students are now more engaged than ever!”

Geoff Trevis, a bee expert and recorder for WBRC, said that “while Nomada lathburiana looks like being downgraded from the Red Data Book, after it was recorded in other locations within Worcestershire, this is the first record of the species from a decidedly urban situation, which suggests the species is continuing to extend its range”.

Bee photo courtesy of Paul Westrich