SEVENTEEN new bee species and four new wasp species have been recorded at Silverlake in Dorset for the first time.

This discovery was made through a survey conducted by Bryan Edwards from the Dorset Environmental Records Centre (DERC).

The site, which was originally rich in aculeate fauna and home to rare and scarce species, saw a decline due to the large-scale sand and gravel working in the 1960s and 70s.

Since 2015, Habitat First Group, parent company of Silverlake, and their onsite ecologist Dr Phoebe Carter, have been carrying out wildlife audits, working to rebuild habitats to allow nesting sites for bees and wasps

They also hoped to encourage wildflowers to grow on the soil banks.

The introduction of bee bricks to all new build properties has also encouraged solitary bees to visit the sites.

As a result of their hard work, Silverlake in Dorset once again provides prime habitats for these insects.

It is home to 46 bee species and 15 wasp species, including the Black and Yellow digger wasp, which was last recorded in the 1950s and the beautiful Jewel wasp first recorded in Dorset in 2016.

With the UK having seen a huge decline in its bee and wasp species in recent years, the survey highlights how effectively managing habitats helps grow these populations.

Chief Ecologist for Habitat First Group, Dr Phoebe Carter said: "In Britain we have around 270 species of bee, just under 250 of which are solitary bees. We should also value many of the wonderful range of wasps we have in the UK as they are also effective and important pollinators.

"Silverlake is hugely committed to providing and protecting the habitats that these species need and as such, now provides bee bricks in every newly built property for solitary bees."

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