A collaboration of coast and countryside organisations on The Lizard Peninsula

Mining Bee Andrea flavipesThis lovely Yellow-legged Mining Bee was spotted at Poltesco, enjoying both the Alexanders and the sunshine.
Photo: Andy Pay

 

 

YELLOW-LEGGED MINING BEE

Scientific name: Andrena flavipes

What to look for:

· Colouring and appearance: Thin yellow/creamy bands on black abdomen. Females have a thick covering of yellow hairs on their back legs, but the males do not and are slimmer.

· Size: Length, 10 to 12 mm.

· Where: Common in the southern parts of England and the south Welsh coast. It is also found in Europe, Asia and Africa.

· When: Two flight periods, from March to May and June to September. The earlier spring generation is more numerous.

Mining Bee Andrea flavipesWe think of bees as social creatures, but there are several solitary species, including mining bees. The Yellow-legged Mining Bee (Andrena flavipes) is a particularly common species in southern parts of the country, and can be seen as early as March on warmer days, nectaring on spring flowers such as the Alexanders that start to blossom in this season.

You can see their nests in the ground during the day, looking like little drilled holes, often (but not always) grouped together where vegetation is sparse and the habitat is exposed to the warmth of the sun. The female creates two to three brood cells in her nest. At night and in rain, the nest opening is sealed

Cuckoo Bee Nomada fucataDid you know...?

... Andrena flavipes has its own specific parasite – the cuckoo bee species Nomada fucata (see image to left). Cuckoo bees lay their eggs in nests of their host bee (this is called kleptoparasitism). The cuckoo bee larva eats the pollen collected by its host, and also tucks into the host’s own larva.

More information and references:

Chinery, M., 2005. Collins Complete Guide to British Insects. Collins, London.

Websites:

Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society: information sheet; other information; and information on Nomada fucata

Published: March 2016
Author: Amanda Scott
Photos: Andrena flavipes (Andy Pay); Nomada fucata (Floor Arts at waarneming.nl, a source of nature observations in the Netherlands. [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Find out about other invertebrate species you can spot on The Lizard.