33 new wild bee species discovered in Saarland as part of the "LIFE Insect-Responsible Sourcing Region" project

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33 new wild bee species discovered in Saarland as part of the "LIFE Insect-Responsible Sourcing Region" project

Wild bee specialists discover 33 new species of wild bees in the Bliesgau biosphere in Saarland. The discovery was made as part of the EU-funded LIFE project " Insect-Responsible Sourcing Region ".
Climate change, immigration and a lack of evaluation of previous findings are possible causes for the new bee discoveries in the UNESCO biosphere reserve.

At home in the Bliesgau: the wild bee Andrena rosae is on the red list of endangered species in Germany. © Ronald Burger
Bonn, 7 February 2024: Wild bee specialists from IFAUN - Faunistics and Functional Biodiversity went on a journey of discovery into the Saarland world of flowers and insects. The result: 33 wild bee species that were previously not on the natural history map of Saarland. A valuable finding that illustrates the need to catch up when it comes to recording local insect populations.

A checklist from 2020 lists 213 wild bee species for Saarland. Climate change and immigration from neighboring regions such as Lorraine, Luxembourg, Alsace and Rhineland-Palatinate are encouraging new settlements in Saarland. At the same time, the Saarland Biodocumentation Center has an extensive collection of wild bees waiting to be analyzed - wild bee specialists are certain that there is more to discover here. Renowned wild bee expert Ronald Burger, who carried out the research in the Bliesgau as part of the "LIFE Insect-Promoting Regions" project for IFAUN, has now spotted rare species such as the highly endangered French rock bee and the inconspicuous narrow-winged bee for the first time in Germany.
"We can only protect what we know"
The "LIFE Insect-Promoting Regions" project enabled a long overdue survey of wild bee species in the Bliesgau biosphere.  The discovery of new wild bee species is of central importance. "We can only protect what we know," explains Jenja Kronenbitter, project manager at the environmental foundation Global Nature Fund.
In order to improve the measures for insect protection in Saarland, a group of experts came together for the project at the Bliesgau Biosphere. Together, they developed a special flowering mixture for Saarland's wild bees, which is now to be tested with farmers in perennial flowering areas. The results of the studies by Ronald Burger and other specialists will serve as the basis for finding the best possible mixture: high benefits for pollinators such as wild bees and other insects, with little effort for farmers and manageable costs.
Collaboration with impressive results
The "LIFE Insect-Friendly Regions" project is an example of the commitment of associations and initiatives that are not only dedicated to protecting the environment, but also actively contribute to expanding our knowledge of nature. The loss of biodiversity is an urgent problem that is being tackled by such projects. A look at the Bliesgau biosphere shows this: Cooperation between farmers, wild bee specialists and environmental protection organizations can lead to impressive results. A small step in Saarland, but a big one for the protection of bees and biodiversity.
The LIFE programme is the EU’s funding instrument exclusively geared towards the support of environmental projects. The programme was initiated in 1992 and has since contributed to measures in the areas of biodiversity, environment and climate action.

Learn more about the project EU-LIFE Insect-Responsible Sourcing Region
Global Nature Fund – Büro Bonn
Jenja Kronenbitter
Kaiser-Friedrich-Str. 11
53113 Bonn
Phone: +49 157 33085788
E-Mail: kronenbitter@globalnature.org