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SUFFOLK BUMBLEBEES

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Bombus humilis Illiger, 1806 Synonymy Morley (1899, 1936): B. venustus Sm. The Brown-banded Carder Bee Bombus humilis was considered to be extinct in Suffolk until recently. Nationally, it was formerly known from scattered localities across England and Wales (e.g. IBRA/ITE 1980), but since then it has undergone a drastic decline and hence its identification as a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Priority Species. Its core distribution today is along the south Wales coast, the south-west peninsula, Salisbury Plain, coastal localities in Kent and south Essex, including extensive brownfield habitats. Morley (1899) cautiously referred to records from Lowestoft, Tostock (“not very common”), Brandon (“widely distributed) and Ipswich, where he described it as “common”. In the 1936 Transactions it did not merit any site qualification, being dismissed as “ubiquitous”, which seems a bold statement, even given its formerly widespread status. Edwards and Telfer (2002) show no Suffolk records at all and only a single coastal record for Norfolk. Then, in 2005, Mike Edwards recorded the species on Westleton Walks whilst undertaking contract survey work for the RSPB. This was followed in 2006 by an observation of this species by Heather Paxman at Bawdsey in the south-east of the county. Given the lack of general Hymenoptera recording in Suffolk, these records might be of long-standing but only recently discovered populations, but recent colonisation also cannot be ruled out. In recent years, B. humilis has spread in Essex from its main populations along the Thames Estuary corridor to several sites scattered up the coast and into the North Essex Vice County. 1980pre-1980 0

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Figure 6. Bombus humilis

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 47 (2012)

THE BUMBLEBEES OF SUFFOLK  

Adrian Knowles

THE BUMBLEBEES OF SUFFOLK  

Adrian Knowles