Andrena nigroaenea colony in my garden

20th March 2012
I'd remembered seeing an occasional mining bee in my front garden in 2011 and also one sighting of the cuckoo bee Nomada goodeniana. This cuckoo bee parasitises nests of the mining bee Andrena nigroaenea. I thought that this year I would look out for activity earlier and was not disappointed. I saw my first Andrena nigroaenea female on 20th March.

The image on the left show that first female, the other two images were taken on 27th March. The female in the middle had just emerged and was still caked with mud. She was easily encouraged onto my hand for a photograph. A smaller male is on the right.

The thorax and hind legs (pollen basket) of the female are covered in thick orange/yellow hairs and the abdomen is dark brown with bands of golden hair. The tip of the abdomen is black. The male is slimmer and the face much hairier (common in many male bee species).

Some more Andrena nigroaenea images in the Gallery here ...

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