It was fantastic news in early December when we got the confirmation that our project proposal “Quarries as stepping stones and corridors for bees and wasps” was selected as one of the top projects in the category science. The first step was the request of a permit for our work with wild bees and wasps in the quarry Wiepenkathen. Thanks to the cooperation of the lower nature conservation authority we received the research and collection permit already before Christmas. We continued with team building and planning of the project in January. Part of our project is the education of students and we advertised the possibility for preparing a thesis in courses and asked if students that we knew are interested in the subject. In the beginning February our team was complete and we will have two additional master students working with us in Wiepenkathen.
Our species selected for the project picture of the blog is the mining bee (Dasypoda hirtipes), a species that builds its nests into sandy soils. The habitat in Wiepenkathen is perfect for this species. The short video (recorded at a site in northeastern Lower Saxony) shows the mining bee and one of its parasites, the satellite fly (Miltogramma oestraceum).
Hopefully the quarry is well connected and the mining bee has already established a population. We hope to find the species later this year and we expect to make many interesting observations and records of wild bees and wasps as well as of their nesting and feeding sites.