May 2015, male Anthophora plumipes, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2015. Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.
Now this is quite a curious bee I discovered visiting my garden. Sometimes called the ‘Hairy- footed Flower Bee’, the female of this fast-flying solitary bee is jet black, whilst the male is largely gingery-brown with a bright yellow face. Long-tongued bee. Size 14 to 17mm.
The nests are built in the ground and in the loose mortar of old walls. Feeds on nectar and pollen, and is a good pollinator.
They are seen March to June, although rarely seen in June. Found in flower-rich pastures, including gardens, where Common Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis) is a favourite flower. Distributed throughout much of England and Wales, especially south. Absent from Scotland and Ireland.
Male, top three images taken April 2007, and female bottom three images taken March 2012, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2007 and 2012.