Worcestershire Record No. 17 November 2004 pp. 21-23


Geoff Trevis 

There has been a steady accumulation of records for the last few years and patterns begin to emerge concerning species distribution. The following observations are based on my own database and undoubtedly a more statistically significant picture will result when more information is available. There are no real surprises to date except, possibly, the relatively few records of nationally rare and uncommon species. Worcestershire’s westerly, hence mild, position on the boundary between northern and southern species should produce a rich hymenoptera fauna but, perhaps, we are too far north-west for the southern species and too far south for the northern ones! Nonetheless, a wide range of species is present, with many more to be discovered through systematic recording. 

I am uncertain of the exact number if species on the BRC database but I have 158 on mine. Certainly the work by Michael Archer and Colin Plant at Devil’s Spittleful and Rifle Range and at Hartlebury Common and by Steven Falk at Kemerton Lakes has substantially extended the county list but these records are not included here as they have either been published elsewhere or will be the subject of future publications. Clearly, Michael Archer has demonstrated that the heaths in the north of the county are the premier hymenoptera sites. However, I have included the majority of records from my database, i.e. those species identified by myself, in table 1 in the hope that some conclusions may be reached, whilst table 2 shows the species from three different and species richer sites. I must stress that these lists in table 2 are not the complete lists for the sites but represent only the species sent to me for confirmation or identification. 

The county list shows 83 species of bees and 57 of wasps, a ratio of approximately 1.5:1, whilst the specific site records show 32 species of bees and 10 of wasps giving a ratio of 3.2:1. Can any conclusions be drawn from this? It has to be said that Habberley Valley has been subjected to only one visit (reported elsewhere in this volume of the Record) whilst the other two sites have been subjected to sporadic collecting over a few years and thus it is difficult to reach any meaningful conclusions. Habberley Valley and Little Comberton have a mix of bees and wasps whilst no wasps at all have been referred to me from Rough Hill Orchard. Does this mean that orchards are deficient in wasp species? Definitely not. The majority of sphecid wasps on my database have come from malaise traps in the orchards at Bowcastle Farm, suggesting that orchards are, in fact, rich in solitary wasps. The Bowcastle Farm survey, being part of a much larger study, will be published elsewhere later and cannot be analysed here. Also, work that hopefully will be published later, from data at Kemerton Lakes, a site close to the base of Bredon Hill, shows a paucity of wasps compared to bees making it more akin to Habberley Valley or Little Comberton. 

The site differences must arise from two sources. First, the number of records from each individual site is small and hence subject to statistical bias. Second, and I think the major factor, is the method of surveying. The three sites listed have all been surveyed by netting specimens, either by sweeping or by specific capture. The specimens collected depend on the human eye either seeing a flying insect or selecting it from a sweep net. Not unexpectedly, this is likely to yield larger and/or more brightly coloured species i.e. the larger bees and the black and yellow wasps. Very small black sphecids are likely to be ignored or not even seen. malaise traps, however, are totally unbiased, hence the large proportion of small wasps collected. This indicates that we are not obtaining a real picture of Worcestershire hymenoptera because:

a. Apart from the northern heaths, the site recording has been spasmodic and unsystematic. 

b. The method used to capture specimens is biased towards larger and more brightly coloured species.

 c. The number of recorders is small so that species distributions will tend to mirror the wanderings of recorders rather than the true distribution of species.

I wish I knew the answer to this problem and I suspect it afflicts hymenoptera records nationally though work by the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society is trying to redress the balance. Probably the only answer is to scatter malaise traps around the county to provide random sampling. However, the thought of the number of specimens that would be collected is sufficient to prevent any such undertaking. Also, unless on well screened private land or remote from centres of population, malaise traps tend to be subject to vandalism. I can only ask entomologists not to ignore small, black hymenoptera but to collect them for identification. I should say that apart from a very few species I do not “do” parasitica but if these are sent I will try to pass them to appropriate experts. 

In addition to affecting the apparent distribution of species, the above factors also introduce bias into the assignment of rarity indices i.e. RDB and nationally notable designations. The county list shows the species currently listed in these categories. However, the wide distribution of Philanthus triangulum or Lasius brunneus suggest that they should be down graded. Similarly, national work on Nomada lathburiana and the frequency with which I have found Sphecodes monilicornis also indicate that these should be down graded. No doubt other species will be in a similar situation. Of course, changes in climate are also affecting many species that until recently were rare and often restricted to the south and east but that are now spreading north and west (Philanthus triangulum being a classic example). 

In summary, significant progress is being made with hymenoptera recording in Worcestershire but the difficulties of collecting a representative suite of species are formidable. When out collecting, particularly by sweeping vegetation, a special watch needs to kept for small specids etc.. 

Acknowledgements: I am indebted to Harry Green, John Meiklejohn and others for referring specimens to me and to Mick Blythe for separating even the smallest hymenoptera from the Bowcastle Farm malaise traps and sending them via Rosemary Winnall. Their efforts have extended the county database in a way that would have been impossible for me individually.

Chalcididae Chalcis sispes (parasitica!) (Linnaeus, 1761)  
Chrysididae Chrysis angustula Schenck, 1856  
  Chrysis ignita (Linnaeus, 1758)  
  Chrysis impressa Schenck, 1856  
Tiphiidae Tiphia minuta Vander Linden, 1827 Nb
Formicidae Formica fusca Linnaeus, 1758  
  Formica rufa Linnaeus, 1761  
  Lasius brunneus (Latreille, 1798) Na
  Lasius flavus (Fabricius, 1782)  
  Lasius fuliginosus (Latreille, 1798)  
  Lasius mixtus (Nylander, 1846)  
  Lasius niger sens. str. (Linnaeus, 1758)  
  Lasius psammophilus Seifert, 1992  
  Lasius umbratus (Nylander, 1846)  
  Leptothorax nylanderi (Foerster, 1850)  
  Myrmica rubra Linnaeus, 1758  
  Myrmica ruginodis Nylander, 1846  
  Myrmica scabrinodis Nylander, 1846  
Pompilidae Anoplius nigerrimus (Scopoli, 1763)  
  Dipogon bifasciatus (Geoffroy in Fourcroy, 1785) RDB3
  Dipogon subintermedius (Magretti, 1886)  
  Dipogon variagatus (Linnaeus, 1758)  
  Evagetes crassicornis (Shuckard, 1837)  
Eumenidae Ancistrocerus gazella (Panzer, 1798)  
  Ancistrocerus nigricornis (Curtis, 1826)  
  Ancistrocerus trifasciatus (Mueller, 1776)  
  Symmorphus bifasciatus (Linnaeus, 1761)  
  Symmorphus gracilis (Brulle, 1832)  
Vespidae Dolichovespula media (Retzius, 1783) Na
  Dolichovespula norwegica (Fabricius, 1781)  
  Dolichovespula saxonica (Fabricius, 1793) RDBK
  Dolichovespula sylvestris (Scopoli, 1763)  
  Vespa crabro Linnaeus, 1758  
  Vespula germanica (Fabricius, 1793)  
  Vespula rufa (Linnaeus, 1758)  
  Vespula vulgaris (Linnaeus, 1758)  
Andreninae Andrena apicata Smith, 1847 Nb
  Andrena bicolor Fabricius, 1775  
  Andrena bucephala Stephens, 1846 Na
  Andrena chrysosceles (Kirby, 1802)  
  Andrena cineraria (Linnaeus, 1758)  
  Andrena dorsata (Kirby, 1802)  
  Andrena flavipes Panzer, 1799  
  Andrena fucata Smith, 1847  
  Andrena fulva (Muller in Allioni, 1776)  
  Andrena fulvago (Christ, 1791) Na
  Andrena haemorrhoa (Fabricius, 1781)  
  Andrena humilis Imhoff, 1832 Nb
  Andrena labialis (Kirby, 1802)  
  Andrena marginata Fabricius, 1776 Na
  Andrena nitida (Muller, 1776)  
  Andrena ocreata Smith, 1849 Nb
  Andrena pubescens Oliver, 1789  
  Andrena scotica Perkins, R.C.L., 1916  
  Andrena semilaevis Perez, 1903  
  Andrena trimmerana (Kirby, 1802) Nb
  Andrena wilkella (Kirby, 1802)  
Anthophinae Anthophora plumipes (Pallas, 1772)  
  Eucera longicornis (Linnaeus, 1758) Na
  Nomada fabriciana (Linnaeus, 1767)  
  Nomada flava Panzer, 1798  
  Nomada fucata Panzer, 1798 Na
  Nomada goodeniana (Kirby, 1802)  
  Nomada lathburiana (Kirby, 1802) RDB3
  Nomada leucophthalma (Kirby, 1802)  
  Nomada marshamella (Kirby, 1802)  
  Nomada panzeri Lepeletier, 1841  
  Nomada ruficornis (Linnaeus, 1758)  
  Nomada striata Fabricius, 1793  
Apinae Apis mellifera Linnaeus, 1758  
  Bombus barbutellus (Kirby, 1802)  
  Bombus campestris (Panzer, 1800)  
  Bombus hortorum (Linnaeus, 1761)  
  Bombus lapidarius (Linnaeus, 1758)  
  Bombus lucorum (Linnaeus, 1761)  
  Bombus pascuorum (Scopoli, 1763)  
  Bombus pratorum (Linnaeus, 1761)  
  Bombus ruderarius (Mueller, 1776)  
  Bombus rupestris (Fabricius, 1793)  
  Bombus sylvestris (Lepeletier, 1833)  
  Bombus terrestris (Linnaeus, 1758)  
  Bombus vestalis (Geoffroy in Fourcroy, 1785)  
Colletinae Colletes daviesanus Smith, F., 1846  
  Colletes succinctus (Linnaeus, 1758)  
  Hylaeus annularis (Kirby, 1802)  
  Hylaeus brevicornis Nylander, 1852  
  Hylaeus pictipes Nylander, 1852 Na
Halictinae Halictus confusus Smith, 1853 RDB3
  Halictus rubicundus (Christ, 1791)  
  Halictus tumulorum (Linnaeus, 1758)  
  Lasioglossum albipes (Fabricius, 1781)  
  Lasioglossum calceatum (Scopoli, 1763)  
  Lasioglossum fulvicorne (Kirby, 1802)  
  Lasioglossum laevigatum (Kirby, 1802)  
  Lasioglossum lativentre (Schenck, 1853)  
  Lasioglossum leucopus (Kirby, 1802)  
  Lasioglossum leucozonium (Schrank, 1781)  
  Lasioglossum malachurum (Kirby, 1802) Nb
  Lasioglossum minutissimum (Kirby, 1802)  
  Lasioglossum morio (Fabricius, 1793)  
  Lasioglossum pauxillum (Schenck, 1853) Na
  Lasioglossum punctatissimum (Schenck, 1853)  
  Lasioglossum puncticolle (Morawitz, 1872) Nb
  Lasioglossum smeathmanellum (Kirby, 1802)  
  Lasioglossum villosulum (Kirby, 1802)  
  Lasioglossum zonulus (Smith, F., 1848)  
  Sphecodes gibbus (Linnaeus, 1758)  
  Sphecodes monilicornis (Kirby, 1802) RDB3
Megachilinae Anthidium manicatum (Linnaeus, 1758)  
  Chelostoma florisomne (Linnaeus, 1758)  
  Megachile ligniseca (Kirby, 1802)  
  Megachile maritima (Kirby, 1802)  
  Megachile versicolor Smith, F., 1844  
  Megachile willughbiella (Kirby, 1802)  
  Osmia aurulenta (Panzer, 1799)  
  Osmia leaiana (Kirby, 1802)  
  Osmia rufa (Linnaeus, 1758)  
Melittinae Dasypoda hirtipes (Fabricius, 1793) Nb
  Melitta leporina (Panzer, 1779)  
Sphecidae Argogorytes mystaceus (Linnaeus, 1761)  
  Cerceris rybyensis (Linnaeus, 1771)  
  Crabro cribrarius (Linnaeus, 1758)  
  Crossocerus annulipes (Lepeletier & Brulle, 1835)  
  Crossocerus capitosus (Shuckard, 1837)  
  Crossocerus dimidiatus (Fabricius, 1781)  
  Crossocerus elongatulus proximus (Vander Linden, 1829)  
  Crossocerus megacephalus (Rossius, 1790)  
  Crossocerus nigritus Lepeletier & Brulle, 1835  
  Crossocerus ovalis Lepeletier & Brulle, 1835  
  Crossocerus podagricus (Vander Linden, 1829)  
  Crossocerus quadrimaculatus (Fabricius, 1793)  
  Crossocerus tarsata (Shuckard, 1837)  
  Ectemnius cavifrons (Thomson, 1870)  
  Ectemnius cephalotes (Olivier, 1792)  
  Ectemnius continuus (Fabricius, 1804)  
  Ectemnius dives (Lepeletier & Brulle, 1834)  
  Ectemnius lapidarius (Panzer, 1804)  
  Ectemnius sexcinctus (Fabricius, 1775) Nb
  Lindenius albilabris (Fabricius, 1793)  
  Mellinus arvensis (Linnaeus, 1758)  
  Passaloecus corniger Shuckard, 1837  
  Passaloecus gracilis (Curtis, 1834)  
  Passaloecus singularis Dahlbom, 1844  
  Pemphredon inornata Say, 1824  
  Pemphredon lugubris (Fabricius, 1793)  
  Philanthus triangulum (Fabricius, 1775) RDB2
  Psenulus concolor (Dahlbom, 1843)  
  Psenulus pallipes (Panzer, 1798)  
  Stigmus solskyi Morawitz, 1864  
  Symmorphus bifasciatus (Linnaeus, 1761)  
  Symmorphus gracilis (Brulle, 1832)  
  Trypoxylon attenuatum Smith, F., 1851  
  Trypoxylon clavicerum Lepeletier & Serville, 1828  
  Trypoxylon figulus sens. Lat.    
Table 1 Worcestershire aculeate hymnenoptera on my database  

Habberley Valley

Little Comberton


Rough Hill


Andrena bicolor    

Andrena chrysosceles    

Andrena cineraria  

Andrena dorsata

Andrena flavipes    

Andrena haemorrhoa


Andrena labialis    

Andrena wilkella    

Anthophora plumipes  

Apis mellifera

Bombus lucorum

Bombus pascuorum


Bombus terrestris  

Bombus vestalis

Eucera longicornis    

Halictus tumulorum    

Hylaeus brevicornis  

Lasioglossum albipes    

Lasioglossum fulvicorne    

Lasioglossum malachurum    

Lasioglossum malachurum    

Lasioglossum morio      
Lasius brunneus      
Megachile ligneseca  

Megachile maritima

Megachile willughbiella  

Nomada goodeniana    

Nomada marshamella  

Osmia aurulenta  

Osmia leaiana  

Osmia rufa  

Sphecodes monilicornis    

Ancistrocerus gazella  

Ancistrocerus nigricornis  

Cerceris rybyensis

Chrysis ignita

Crossocerus quadrimaculatus

Dolichovespula saxonica  

Ectemnius continuus  

Ectemnius dives  

Vespa crabro

Vespula vulgaris

Table 2- Site specific records  


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