I call this 'part 3' as Kath Pryce has already twice written of this wonderful plant for wildlife. During early autumn, my garden ivy –a mature plant that flowers every year– attracted hordes of butterflies (red admirals, commas and small tortoiseshells), hoverflies (mostly the hive bee mimics Eristalis spp) and various true bees and wasps. Now that the once‐rare Colletes hedereae has been recorded on Gower* I shall also have to keep a look out for this early autumn‐flying colonist in Carmarthenshire. To get flowering ivy, allow the plant to ascend a wall or tree until it gets into a sunny position, where it will flower when mature. An ill‐written article in the Llanelli Star in early October almost got me to ‘ranting stage’, when a woman on a South Llanelli estate was demanding that the Council 'remove a bees' nest in a bush at the bottom of her garden’. Sensibly, the Council refused on cost grounds (and why should taxpayers pick up this bill anyway?) Looking at the photograph in the newspaper, the bush was clearly ivy in flower: it is extremely unlikely that there was even a nest there –simply insects enjoying an autumn feast, and most of the bees were the harmless bee mimic hoverflies Eristalis spp.! The Star reporter referred to bees as ‘pests’ and only sought to ‘hype‐up’ an already unreasonable request from the complainant.
*See Barry Stewart's highly recommended and photo‐rich Gower wildlife blogspot (which includes wildlife sightings in the Llanelli area) at http://goweros.blogspot.com/2011_10_01archive.html