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Yellow loosestrife bee and reed yellow-face bee at Filsham Reedbed (EDIT)

The yellow loosestrife bee Macropis europaea is still doing very well at Filsham Reedbed with numerous males patrolling the dense patches of yellow loosestrife throughout the reedbed yesterday, and smaller numbers of females foraging from yellow loosestrife flowers. This bee collects pollen and floral oils mainly from yellow loosestrife and is therefore closely associated with wetland habitats where the pollen resource occurs.

Yellow loosestrife bee & reed yellow-face bee habitat at Filsham Reedbed.

Another wetland and reedbed specialist is the reed yellow-face bee Hylaeus pectoralis which nests within the old abandoned cigar galls made by the gall inducing fly Lipara lucens within the developing flower heads of Phragmites australis.

Lipara lucens cigar gall.

By sweeping a dense patch of Lipara galls and the reed surrounding them I was able to very easily find three female Hylaeus pectoralis. Another 4-5 females were foraging on a nearby patch of creeping thistle which was clearly an important pollen and/or nectar resource for the species at Filsham. 

The species is much larger and more elongate than the very similar common yellow-face bee Hylaeus communis and under the microscope has a very different clypeal microsculpture. This appears to be the first record for Filsham and the RX area.

A number of other bees and wasps were recorded using this method including Hylaeus communis, Hylaeus confusus, Pemphredon lugubris and Crossocerus podagricus. These species were most likely nesting in dead reed stems rather than Lipara galls.

Also recorded was a striking banchine wasp Banchus volutatorius. This is a parasitoid of a number of common noctuid moths such as bright-line brown-eye and cabbage moth.

Andy Phillips

EDIT: Gordon Jarvis informs me that Macropis europaea is also doing well in at least two locations in the Peasmarsh area. The species is worth looking for at any wetland site in the RX area where yellow loosestrife grows from now until early September.


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