Archive for October 17th, 2011

17th October 2011, Monday

Ivy bee – have you seen one?

Should you happen to walk past a clump of ivy in flower keep a watch for this insect.

Colletes hederae

It is the bee Colletes hederae, a species that was first seen in the UK in 2001, and whose spread is being monitored by the Bee, Wasp and Ant Recording Scheme (BWARS).  They are interested in studying the progress of this attractive bee as it colonises the UK. 

They can also be observed on bare ground where they make their nests.  With broad pale bands on the abdomen this is the only solitary bee that is likely to be flying now, so identification is not too problematical, if you find one foraging on ivy.

It seems to be getting quite well established in southern England and is spreading inland in places, but records in the RX area would be useful.  We know it occurs in Hastings and at Pett but is it elsewhere?  For more information on this insect, including details of where to send any records if you have seen one (ideally sending a photographic record of the insect) click here

Thanks to Ian Hunter for use of the above photograph.

17th October 2011, Monday

Dewick’s Plusia in Rye

Dewick’s Plusia, Rye, 17.10.11

Both the English and scientific names of Dewick’s Plusia (Macdunnoughia confusa) are quite bizarre, and it’s a pretty moth too, related to the familiar Silver Y but smaller and brighter with a gleaming silver mark on the wing. First found in the UK by A.J. Dewick at Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex, in October 1951, it remained a rare vagrant until the last decade. Now it’s thought to be well established with at least four colonies in Sussex alone. Chris caught one at Rye Harbour on 2nd October, the fifth reserve record, but the one in my trap this morning was my first ever.