Found Buffish Mining bee Andrena nigroaeanea on Hackney Downs last week. That's another new species for Hackney.

That brings the total to 50 confirmed species in Hackney so far; 2 new species in a week! That's getting on for 20% of all UK species. See Hackney Bee Species 2016.pdf. Since I'm about the only person in Hackney doing serious bee ID there are bound to be others out there I've not found yet.

I've not found A. nigroaenea before even though it's one of the most common bees in England. Likewise I've only ever found one A. cineraria in Hackney, another common mining bee. This may suggest even common species are only just clinging on in Hackney as decades of habitat destruction continue to accelerate.

Here are a few tips you want to help solitary bees:

  • encourage weeds likes dandelions (great pollen & nectar source);
  • encourage diverse, all year flower resources
  • create some bare ground for soil nesting (mining bees mine the soil to nest)
  • oppose loss of green space everywhere (in gardens, parks, estates, schools and development sites).

If you want to try and identify solitary bees get Steve Falk's excellent new book. It is not easy but it's just got a whole lot easier.

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