Mining Bee, Andrena spp.

Mining Bee, Andrena spp. One of the largest groups of solitary bees, it is believed to consist of over 1,300 known species.

In general, they seem to prefer to build nests in sandy soil. Evidence of them may be seen if you come across little mounds of earth in lawns, borders, or even in pots, resembling worm casts. Nests will often consist of one small, main tunnel, with perhaps 5 or so branches, each containing an egg cell. The tunnel will usually be about 20cms – 40cms deep, and the entrance is about the size of a 10p coin. The nests will not cause any damage in soil or in gardens, and indeed, they should be welcomed.

Adults emerge from hibernation in Spring, having hibernated through the winter. After mating, the female seeks a place to make a nest. Like the other female solitary bees, she sets about making egg cells: in each one she lays an egg and provides both pollen and nectar on which the individual larva can feed.

Although solitary, females do sometimes construct nests close to each other, and may be re-occupied year after year if undisturbed.

Habitat: Woodland, gardens and orchards
Development: Complete metamorphosis
Food: Herbivore
Flight Period: All summer
Description: Yellow, orange or white on thorax. Black abdomens without any colored hairs.
Length: 10-15mm

Further Information:   

Wisconsin Bee Identification Guide
Spring Wild Bees of Wisconsin
Bumble Bees of Wisconsin
Wild Native Bee Nest Boxes

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