Have you seen the stunning Bee Wolf?

A species that we have noticed is spreading its range across the Commons is the stunning Bee Wolf.

First recorded here in 2016, the Bee Wolf

 

nother new species recorded this year, although likely to have been here some time but unnoticed or mis‐identi

 

Another new species recorded this year, although
likely to have been here some time but unnoticed
or mis‐identi

This magnificent wasp stocks its nest burrows exclusively with Honeybees, and this habit has led to it being known colloquially as the ‘Bee-Wolf’. For years this species was an extreme rarity, with a
population on the Isle of Wight and others in a few scattered localities in southern England. Since the mid-1980’s the species has expanded its range dramatically and is now found widely across southern Britain and even as far north as Yorkshire. The species is widespread on continental Europe , where rapid range extensions have been shown to occur in response to periods of increased summer warmth. 
Females are large imposing wasps, most easily recognised by the narrow reddish stripe behind the eye
and extensively pale face. Males are smaller with
striking bluish eyes and a distinctive trident-like mark
between the eyes.
Habitat and Conservation
A species of open sandy ground on lowland heathland
and coastal dunes. Less commonly seen on isolated
sandy areas such as on chalk heath, post-industrial
sites, city parks and gardens.
Nests are constructed in level or sloping ground in
open sunny situations on sandy soil and can often be
found in large aggregations. They have multiple chambers, each of which is provisioned with several bees.
It is estimated that over 100 bees may be collected
by a single female during the flight period, which lasts
from early July to mid-August. In some parts of the
world Philanthus can be a major predator of honeybees, but this is not the case in Britain. Both sexes
can be found at a range of open-access flowers and
females aggressively defend nectar sources.
Although no special conservation measures are now
required for this species, nesting