A Yellow-legged Mining Bee (Andrena flavipes) Colony

31st March 2012
I'd been told that there was a large colony of Yellow-legged Mining Bees (Andrena flavipes) at Cubbington Church in Warwickshire. I set out to get some photographs, totally unprepared for what I would find. There was a 10 metre wide strip of closely-cut grass and flower beds next to the church entrance, that was just alive with bees. There were thousands, possible tens of thousands, with the grassed area peppered with bee burrows.

They were very active and it was difficult to know where to start getting a picture. I decided to just sit down on the path next to the colony (to avoid squashing any!) and just wait for opportunities. Every now and then, some would land on the grass or the path, and that would allow some shots. There were also lots walking all over me (they don't sting!) and I've found in the past that if I can get one resting on my left had, this provides an oppurtunity to rest the camera there as well.

The images above show that the bees don't actually have yellow legs, but their legs are all covered with yellow hairs. The male is on the left and is slimmer and less hairy than the females (centre and right). The right-hand image shows a female resting on my hand. Both sexes have prominent pale bands between the abdominal segments.

See larger images of Andrena flavipes in the Image Gallery.


Photo comment By Michelle: Are these bees common in the state of Georgia, USA?

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