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.