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.


  1. I think this may have been a bee I saw the other day. Gone before time to photograph but the deep orange patch on its back was striking. (Blackcurrants nearby but season late and flowers not yet open.)

  2. P.S. Thanks for including the BWAR link. Didn't know about BWAR. Should!

  3. Hi Lucy, I think the BWARS site is really useful. They are doing a survey of the distribution of this bee at the moment and you can add your sighting to their records on-line.


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