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Rare bee find in Lewes 'testament to mowing for nature'

Dusky-horned Nomad Bee is 'first for Sussex'

White-bellied Mining Bee female

White-bellied Mining Bee female
White-bellied Mining Bee female by Steven Falk
Lewes District's Council's policy of reducing the frequency of grass cutting to allow wildflowers to flourish and improve biodiversity has been credited with the discovery of rare bees in Lewes Cemetery.

The council agreed a biodiversity strategy in 2021 and has been implementing a range of measures to encourage pollinators such as bees and butterflies. 

Local bee expert and author of the recently published The Bees of Sussex, James Power, discovered a male and female Dusky-horned Nomad Bee in the cemetery, which is the first time the bee has been found in Sussex.

James said:

"Dusky-horned Nomad Bees are a cuckoo of the White-bellied Mining Bee and their presence is a first for Sussex.  The White Bellied Mining Bee is also a rare bee and doing well in the cemetery.

 

"These aren't the only rare bees I've found there, there are two more notable species, the Broad-faced Mining Bee and its cuckoo, the very scarce Fringeless Nomad Bee - a bee that has only been recorded in Sussex eight times."

Lewes District Council is working with a wide range of partners to nurture the pollinator-friendly environment at Lewes Cemetery, including Wildflower Lewes, Lewes Urban Arboretum, SDNPA and idverde.

Councillor Emily O'Brien, Cabinet Member for Climate, Nature and Food Systems, said:

"I'm hugely grateful to the many groups and volunteers who share the council's determination to encourage pollinators in the district - their support and hard work makes a huge difference.

"The discovery of these rare bees is very exciting and testament to mowing for nature in the district, as opposed to the old approach of cutting the grass as short as possible in all our green spaces." 

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