Friday, April 08, 2016

Woodland bee wall

In ancient Churchland Wood just at the end of our garden there is a root plate on  a sweet chestnut that was toppled in the 1987 great storm.

Microhabitats like this can be interesting and are important to species of plants and animals that need the conditions they provide. I have often looked at it for wildlife and this year was pleased to find that there were many females of Clarke's mining bee, Andrena clarkella, digging out nest holes, mostly near the top of the plate, as comfortable, well-stocked quarters for their progeny.  These bees are fond of pollen from sallow flowers and will visit dandelions and other species for nectar.  We have several sallows in the garden and, combined with the root plate, a breeding opportunity is created that is becoming increasingly scarce.  I worry though that in 'well-managed' woodland (now often thought of as a essential conservation requirement), root plates would be levelled (might get in the way of forestry machines) and sallows removed as tree species of little worth.

Andrena clarkella is widespread in the south of England.

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