Tawny Mining Bee

Andrena fulva

Tawny Mining Bee Andrena fulva

The female is unmistakable with her bright fox-red coat. Size 10 to 13mm.

It can be seen coming and going to its nesting sites in the earth or in lawns where the female throws up little mounds of earth around her entrance. There maybe many mounds in close proximity, each one the entrance to a single, solitary bee’s nest. Excellent and essential pollinator. Feeds on nectar and pollen.

Seen April to June, and found in many habitats, including gardens. Widespread and common.

April 2013, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2013.


Early Mining Bee

Andrena haemorrhoa

Early Mining Bee Andrena haemorrhoa

Quite a small bee which never really kept still, and quite a challenge to photograph with the camera I had at the time.

The rich gingery brown thoracic hair and the blue-black-brown abdomen with the gingery brown tip readily identify this small active, solitary bee. The male is much smaller than the female, and the male has a pale brown face whilst the female is white. Size 10 to 12mm.

Early Mining Bee Andrena haemorrhoa

Burrows are dug in many open habitats in which they make their nests. Feeds on pollen and nectar.

Early Mining Bee Andrena haemorrhoa

Seen March to July, and found in various habitats, including parks, garden lawns, sports fields, and similar places. A common species in Britain and across Europe generally.

Early Mining Bee Andrena haemorrhoa

June 2006, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2006.

Grey Mining Bee

Andrena cineraria

I came across this small mining bee as I walked along a dirt path alongside a canal bordering a horse pasture. It was hovering a few inches above the soil before it landed and allowed me to take these photographs.

Also called the ‘Ashy Mining Bee’, the females are mainly black in colour with two bands of greyish white hairs at the front and rear of the thorax, and has a shiny black abdomen. The males are similar but they lack the thoracic bands, insead being covered with finer greyish white hairs. Length up to 15mm.

It excavates burrows in the ground.

Seen April to June. Often seen hovering just above the ground in spring. Found in woodland clearings and rides, gardens and parks, and other habitats. Widespread and common.

Photographs taken May 2015, local field, Staffordshire.