Longhorn Bee

The Longhorn Bee, Eucera longicornis

Longhorn Bee male My bee of the year 2016! This large solitary bee has disappeared from many British counties in recent years. This may be due to the loss of its main foraging plants – especially Bird’s-foot Trefoil – from farmland. Luckily we still have enough left in the Monnow Valley to sustain the bee at several sites. These include the banks of the Monnow at two locations, an organically managed farm near Hendre and the flower meadows at Kingcoed, owned and managed by Monmouthshire Meadows Group. I think the Monmouth area could be one of its last strongholds in Britain.

The male is umistakable, though it dashes about in the grass at speed in May and early June and its amazing antennae are not obvious until it’s in your net.

Long-horned BeeThe female, as it forages on legumes in July, can be mistaken for one of the faded Common Carder Bees doing the same thing, until you get a close look at its hairy buff hind legs and black abdomen with  white bands at the rear.

Here is a female on a large patch of Bird’s-Foot Trefoil that has escaped the mower near the river bank at Perthir



About Roger Ruston

In one of my ealiest memories I am knee-high, collecting bees from lavender in a garden on the South Downs. When I grew up I got a master's in zoology at Bristol and studied insects under Prof. Howard Hinton FRS (for those who know, that gives away my age). After several retirements from several lives I have created a wildlife garden in Monmouth, Wales, giving a space to insects, especially bees. In four years I have found 49 species of bee there and nearly twice that number in the surrounding countryside. I am a member of BWARS (Bees, Wasps & Ants Recording Society). My ambition is to assist local conservation projects by identifying and mapping the local bees. I think it is best to know what species we share our spaces with before they are threatened by the many human activities that can destroy bees. Ignorance is the greatest enemy.
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