Monday, May 13, 2013
Tawny mining bee
This is a sight to gladden the heart if, like me, you grow soft fruit: a tawny mining bee Andrena armata. They've been breeding in our garden for many years, laying their eggs in tunnels that they mine in bare soil under the hedge. They are remarkably industrious pollinators of early-flowering red currents (seen here), black currents and gooseberries - and very attractive little bees too, with that tawny fur. This species seems to be near the northern limit of its UK distribution here in Durham, except for an outlying population in Scotland.
The Bees,Wasps and Ants Recording Society has a very useful information sheet on this species which you can download by clicking here.