Mining bee found in Stirling 'a first' for Scotland

Image caption,
The tawny mining bee makes small volanco-shaped mounds in gardens

A type of bee has been recorded for the first time in Scotland, in the grounds of a university where the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) is based.

The tawny mining bee was found in the University of Stirling's campus by the trust's director Dr Ben Darvill.

His find was confirmed by Murdo Macdonald of the Highland Biological Recording Group.

The bee is found in gardens in England and makes small volcano-shaped mounds in soil.

Dr Darvill said: "This discovery, on our doorstep, just goes to show how much lies out there waiting to be found by the curious.

"The general public can do their bit to make gardens little oases for bees by planting more traditional 'cottage garden' style plants and wild flowers.

"Farmers, crofters and other land managers are encouraged to consider bees and work towards providing a mosaic of flower rich patches with something available throughout the season."

Habitat loss

In February, a species of bumblebee was spotted in Scotland for the first time in 50 years.

The southern cuckoo bumblebee was seen at Humbleton Hill, just north of Eyemouth, by Bob Dawson from the BBCT.

It is black and yellow like other types but the male has distinctive antennae and is named after the cuckoo because it moves into the nests of other bees.

The new discoveries have been greeted by the trust as good news against a backdrop of hard times for bees because of disease and loss of habitat.

Meanwhile, BBCT are semi-finalists and only Scottish-based project left in a UK-wide competition to select the top eco-project for the National Lottery Awards.

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