YACWAG regrets that the competition for writing and illustration has had to be cancelled. This is due to the incapacity of one of the organising members and difficulties during the pandemic.
If anyone has not received a refund for their entry fee, please send a message through the YACWAG website and a refund will be made.
Again our apologies for this disappointment.
The rare Yellow Loosestrife bee has been found in Yatton thanks to Yatton and Congresbury Wildlife Action Group (YACWAG).
There are over 250 species of bee in the UK, but one in ten species is facing extinction due to the chemicals used in the countryside and loss of habitat because of urbanisation, disease and the effects of climate change.
The Yellow Loosestrife bee is specific to one particular wild flower (yellow loosestrife) which would once have been much more common in the marshy ground around Yatton. Over the years intensive agriculture and drainage have reduced the amount of damp uncultivated ground where the plant can flourish and new plants are now found very infrequently.
When YACWAG bought two fields off Stowey Road in 2006 they were pleased to see Yellow Loosestrife growing along one of the ditch banks. The fields have been managed with the rare wild flowers in mind and this year there were large numbers of the plant along the edge of the fields. A colony also unusually sprang up a few years ago in the middle of the field.
Tony Moulin, Chairperson of YACWAG and an amateur entomologist himself, had read about a rare bee called the Yellow Loosestrife Bee. Not knowing much about it, but knowing that the plant associated with it was growing strongly in YACWAG’s fields, he set out this year to see if he could find it. He found one and then asked YACWAG member Colin Higgins, who is also an insect enthusiast and a local wildlife photographer, to see if he could get better photographs. With these Colin was able to obtain verification from the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society that the bee on the Yellow Loosestrife was indeed the Yellow Loosestrife bee.
The Yellow Loosestrife bee is normally regarded as a species of south east England and is previously unknown from the Bristol Region and North Somerset. The nearest record comes from Westhay National Nature Reserve on the Somerset Levels. It makes its nests underground in ditch banks, waterproofing the chambers with an oil it makes from the pollen of Yellow Loosestrife. Tony says, “When you begin to understand the very specific requirements of some of our insects, it is easy to see why they are at risk of extinction. These bees may have been in small numbers in the fields north of Yatton for centuries, but if YACWAG had not bought the fields, if they had been sold for development or managed more intensively, then the colony would have been wiped out without anyone even knowing they existed. Our wildlife is so fragile.”
Tony will be interviewed on Radio Bristol live on Wednesday 19th August 2020 at about 8.25am and the recorded interview made on location in Stowey Reserve will be on air between 6pm and 7 pm also on Wednesday 19th on Radio Bristol.
We are working towards our local nature sites being positively managed, improved and extended wherever possible.
Perhaps you are free one morning to join a work party to help out on one of the sites we manage?
Or perhaps an organised walk or talk interests you?
We are a friendly group who would welcome your presence.
To get involved, YACWAG membership is not necessary.