Fersiwn Gymraeg ar gael yma.

Guest blog by Liam Olds from Buglife Cymru, our Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff project partners.

Rumney Community Hub is just one of the many and wonderful Urban Buzz sites across Cardiff that are supported through the Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff project. With help from Grow Cardiff and Rumney Seedlings – a dedicated community garden group for the local people of Rumney – areas of former amenity grassland around the Hub have been transformed into fantastic pollinator habitats. This has included, amongst other things, transforming a regularly mown lawn of little value to pollinating insects into a wildflower meadow which now provides plentiful pollen and nectar sources for pollinating insects, while also providing important nesting, sheltering and hiding places for other insects and wildlife.

Over the course of the year, the Giving Nature a Home team have been busy delivering seasonal events at Rumney Community Hub – the same events on offer to all Urban Buzz sites. During an event in late August, the team made an exciting discovery! While leading bug hunting sessions with families and children, Buglife Cymru’s Conservation Officer (Liam Olds) spotted what looked to be an ‘interesting’ bee. Following its capture in an insect net and transfer into a pot for closer examination, it was clear that this bee was indeed ‘interesting’. Liam identified the bee as none other than the Shrill carder bee (Bombus sylvarum) – one of the Britain’s rarest bumblebees! Understandably this brought much excitement to the Giving Nature a Home team and everyone attending the event that day.

Once widely distributed in England and Wales, the Shrill carder bee has experienced a severe decline and is now known from just a handful of sites in south Wales and southern England. As such, it is considered a priority for conservation here in Wales under Section 7 of the Environment (Wales) Act 2016. The Gwent Living Levels – a unique landscape of fields and drainage ditches located between Cardiff and Chepstow – supports one of the largest and most important populations of the rare Shrill carder bee in Britain and is just a stone’s throw away from Rumney Partnership Hub. In recent years there have been a few sightings of Shrill carder bee in eastern Cardiff, including sightings at Hendre Lake Park in St Mellons and a garden in Trowbridge this summer. Nonetheless, its appearance at Rumney Partnership Hub was the first time this rare species has ever been seen at an Urban Buzz site and clearly demonstrates that efforts to make Cardiff’s green spaces more ‘pollinator friendly’ can indeed help even our rarest species. We hope the Shrill carder bee continues to thrive and spread throughout Cardiff, and we certainly hope it appears at further Urban Buzz sites across the city in the near future.