posted on 2023-08-30, 16:40authored byStephanie Maher, Fabrizio Manco, Thomas C. Ings
Suitable nest sites are a crucial habitat requirement of ground nesting bees, but empirical studies of fossorial solitary bee nesting ecology in the UK are few in number. This study used a citizen science approach to overcome the logistical and temporal barriers associated with this type of research and to gather data on the abiotic environment associated with the nesting aggregations of four fossorial solitary bee species in the UK. Three hundred and ninety-four records were submitted by the public between March and November 2017. Sixty percent (236) of these records were verified as indicative of active nesting aggregations of the target species. Overall, the species in this study demonstrated the capacity to nest within a broad range of environmental variables. Although Colletes hederae (Schmidt and Westrich, 1993) was often reported from sloped, unshaded sites, and Andrena fulva (Müller in Allioni, 1766) was regularly associated with flat, shaded locations. This study demonstrated the efficacy of a citizen science approach in surmounting the intrinsic difficulties associated with studying solitary bee nest sites, which are both ephemeral and cryptic structures in the landscape.