Philanthus triangulum (Fabricius, 1775)
A small and dense colony of these wasp-like insects was discovered on a sandy path at the edge of woodland near Market Warsop in July 2006. Upon my initial sighting, it was obvious that these were one solitary bee that I had not come across before and until recently, it would not have been possible to see P. triangulum in Nottinghamshire at all. Commonly called the Bee-killer Wasp, they were rare and restricted to south coastal areas, but a substantial expansion in range, followed a succession of hot, dry Summers.

P. triangulum is a burrow-nesting species and they dig out copious amounts of soil within minutes. The obvious burrows are situated on open ground in dry, sandy soils. Ejected material is flicked behind the wasp during nest construction and it is a fascinating process to watch. Their main prey is the Honeybee (Apis mellifera) Females catch and sting feeding Honeybees and then carry their paralysed victim back to their nests as shown in the top photograph. The whole nesting area Dilys and I came across, was littered with the bodies of dead Honeybees. Through it's recent range expansion, the Bee-killer Wasp is likely to occur at many sites within the Sherwood Forest area.

Nottinghamshire (VC56) distribution of Philanthus triangulum
The records for the Nottinghamshire distribution map are currently provided by the following contributors - Trevor and Dilys Pendleton. Richard Rogers. Sherwood Forest Trust (2008 Oak Tree Heath invertebrate survey). Netherfield Wildlife Group. Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. Tim Sexton. Chris Overton.

You can contribute your own records to help us gain an accurate status of this species in Nottinghamshire. Send an Excel spreadsheet of your records via the 'contact us' link at the top of the homepage.

Updated March 2023

copyright Trevor and Dilys Pendleton ( . .
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