If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

About Me

My photo

I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

10 May, 2014

Mining Bee: Andrena thoracica

This attractive bee (Andrena thoracica) is a member of the andrena family which are mining bees and as such, nest in holes they excavate in the earth, usually sandy soils that are easy to burrow in to. In such soils you often see little volcanoes, a conical heap of sand with a hole at the centre and these can be the work of mining bees although digger wasps also do this.
There are several species in the family, 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 tongues which limits the sort of flowers they can visit to gather pollen and they can be important pollinators of such flowers whereas bumblebees have long tongues and specialise in tubular flowers.
Andrena bees are amongst the first species of bees to appear in the spring although this one, thoracica, comes later. This one was photographed on Wareham Common on a meadow thistle in July.
Related Post: