Sep 26 2019

Rare bees thriving at Victory Wood

On Wednesday 21 August, a group of Woodland Trust volunteers teamed up with staff at the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust to record and monitor the various species of bees which can be found at Victory Wood, our very special site on the edge of the North Kent Coast.

 

Bex Cartwright supporting volunteers with bee identification. Photo credit: Claire Inglis

It was a great day, the weather was hot and sunny and there was tremendous support to the event locally – around 30 volunteers from various Kent sites turned up, as well as a few local residents and staff from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. Led by bee ID specialists, we split into groups to support volunteers with their identification skills, covering a large area of the semi-natural open ground habitat at the site.

 

We were looking for the UK’s rarest bee, the Shrill Carder Bee (Bombus sylvarum), which has taken up home at Victory Wood, and we’re pleased to announce a staggering 121 were recorded on site! If this isn’t exciting enough, to top it off the group also found two other rare species: the Brown-banded Carder bee (Bombus humilis) and the Red-shanked Carder bee (Bombus ruderarius).

 

In addition to rare bumblebees, also found were a number of common species and some solitary bees too! In total just under 360 bees were identified over the course of our two and a half hour survey – but there were many more happily buzzing around!

Brown banded carder bee on red clover. Photo credit: Bex Cartwright

 

Following the survey, some volunteers then went on to nearby Wraik Hill, a Kent Wildlife Trust site which also overlooks the North Kent coast and is a short drive from Victory Wood.

 

The season has drawn to a close for 2019 and the bees are busy preparing for hibernation underground. We look forward to returning next year to report more buzzing news from Victory Wood!

 

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