A rare species of bee is thought to have been found in a north-east town for the for the first time.
The bombus hypnorum or, as it’s also known, the tree bumblebee, is commonly found on mainland Europe and parts of Asia but has recently been discovered making its presence felt in the north and north-east for the first time.
Following reported sightings in Forres, Inverness and Huntly, nature lover Adrian Breeman captured images of the distinctive insects while out on a recent walk in Peterhead’s Eden Park.
Mr Breeman, 76, said: “I found the species after being asked to keep an eye open for it as it had been seen in Aberdeenshire last year.
“Success came on about the 100th circuit.
“That is what the past months have been all about, looking at nature and enjoying what can be seen, this being the bonus.”
The species was first recorded in England in 2001 and just last year it was finally recorded in the north and north-east of Scotland, with the Peterhead sightings “one of the most northern records so far”.
North East Scotland Biological Records Centre (NESBReC) coordinator, Glen Roberts, said: “It is really something quite special that we’re finding these species in this part of the country.
“They are quite a rare species of bee for Peterhead. They were first spotted last year in Huntly and have since been recorded in Alford and Inverurie as well.
“They first crossed the border into Scotland in 2013 and so they’ve taken some time to get to the north-east.
“I think in time we could see them travel further north, to places like Fraserburgh, Banff and possibly Orkney as well.”
Mr Robertson added: “The tree bumblebee has a distinctive rusty brown thorax and black and greyish abdomen.
“These bees have gone on a quest to find places to nest, which has brought them ever further north.
“Normally they’d nest in trees, but people have been finding them nesting in elevated bird boxes.
“They don’t pose a threat to other species of bees and people across the region have been spotting them a lot more than before, possibly due to spending more time in their gardens.”
To help with research on the tree bumblebee, the public are encouraged to record their sightings of this species online at www.nesbrec.org.uk.