invertebrate survey and conservation


The Long-horned Bee project

Kernow Ecology is working as a partnership with local landowners and conservation charities to help conserve The Long-horned bee in Cornwall.
In 2016 over 1000 wildflower plugs were grown by Kernow Ecology and planted on 4 sites of total 4 ha. The Long
-horned bee is nationally notable and a BAP priority species.

See video  eucera the film

Summary of 2017 report

The population of Cornish Long-horned Bee has declined from 24 to just 6 sites (75% decrease). The key sites have all been assessed as vulnerable.

The greatest threat is limited foraging resources. Flowering Legumes are rare, either through abandonment of cliff-top grazing, summer grazing or intensive agriculture.

Further threats are coastal erosion, resulting in nest site destruction and loss of flower-rich coastal edge habitats.

Ecological requirements

A narrow range of Legume Fabaceae species dominated foraging visits and pollen samples.  Kidney vetch Anthyllis vulneraria, Everlasting pea Lathyrus sylvestris, Meadow vetchling Lathyrus pratensis and White clover Trifolium repens. The study found that the bee does use pollen from other plant families but it is suspected this is caused by lack of preferred Legumes.

Continuity of flowering Legume species are needed for 3 - 6 weeks. Within the peak foraging period of about 3 weeks, the bee requires both early flowering Legumes and late flowering Legumes. Most Cornish sites had one or the other, rather than both.

The bee generally uses south facing soft clay or loess cliffs for nesting, although other aspects can be used. The bee creates substantial nests and may be reluctant to invest in creating new nest networks. This could make the bee less adaptable and more vulnerable to coastal erosion.

Foraging range is estimated at 700m

Conservation recommendations

Summer (May to August) grazing or cutting should not take place on flowering Legume habitats within 0m to 700m of nest sites.

Create or boost areas of mass flowering vetches 'super-peas', to include Common vetch Vicia sativa and Meadow vetchling Lathyrus pratensis. If possible, also include Everlasting pea Lathyrus sylvestris and Bush vetch Vicia sepium to extend flowering period.

White clover Trifolium repens is recommended but should be used in combination with habitats rich in Kidney vetch Anthyllis vulneraria.

Full details of survey 

The Long-horn Bee in Cornwall, its ecology and preferences

Long-horn information sheet for land managers


Long- horned bee (Eucera longicornis) female foraging on everlasting pea 



eucera male


Annotated graph of total bee numbers on key foraging plants recorded during the survey 

Scythe on Looe Downs