Solitary Bee Lasioglossum minutissimum New to Greater Manchester and VC59

Lasioglossum minutissimum male

On the 18th June 2019 I collected a small black bee from apple mint (Mentha suaveolens) in my urban garden in Longsight, Manchester. I later examined it under a microscope and identified it as a male Lasioglossum minutissimum. 

My garden is a small, front garden just off one of the main roads out of the city centre of Manchester with heavy clay soil and a variety of planted herbs, fruit, perennial shrubs and wild plants. It is west facing and catches the sun all day in summer and is very popular with the small Lasioglossum species.

According to the BWARS species account (G.W. Allen 2019) it is thought to be a southern species with a preference for warm, sandy sites with the flight period for males from mid-June to late September. Pollen sources are unknown in Britain but in Germany Asteraceae and Lamiaceae are used (Westrich, 1989). In The Handbook of the Bees of the British Isles (Else & Edwards, 2018) it is described as nesting on sandy or clay soils with the nearest records to Manchester being Denbighshire, Staffordshire, a record for South Yorkshire in 2016 near Doncaster (B. Hargreaves, pers. comm.), and a record from Broxton, Cheshire in May 2019 (T. Hunter, pers. comm.)

This is the first confirmed record of Lasioglossum minutissimum in VC59, in Greater Manchester and this represents the current north west limit of this species.

(c) BWARS distribution map for Lasioglossum minutissimum up to 2019. Black dots are 1990 to present, grey dots 1960 up to 1989,
open ones pre 1960.