Mining Bee (Andrena thoracica)

The Andrena family of bees are mining bees and as such, nest in holes they excavate in the earth, usually sandy soils that are easy to burrow in to. There are several species, some difficult to tell apart but this one, Andrena thoracica is quite distinctive because it is generally black but with a bright orange/brown thorax.

The Andrena's also have short toungues which limit the sort of flowers they can visit to gather pollen and they can be important pollenatotrs of such flowers whereas bumblebees have long tongues and specialise in tubular flowers.

Andrena's are also amongst the first species of bees to appear in the spring although thorcica comes later. This one was photographed on Wareham Common on a Meadow Thistle in July.

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