Andrena / mining Bee
Common Name: Mining Bee
Coloring is usually black or dull metallic blue or green, usually with buff colored hairs on the thorax. The abdomen is tapered, sometimes with noticeable bands of pale hairs.
The female carries pollen in a brush of specialized hairs, called a scopa, on each of her hind legs, which are distinctly noticeable on Andrena species. When she forages on flowers with bluish pollen, such as some species of Gilia or Phacelia, her hind legs will appear blue or purple.
Andrena species have a habit of nesting in lawns, often capturing the attention of home gardeners.
Andrena includes both plant generalists and plant specialist species. While Andrena are generally known as spring bees, some specialist species emerge later in the year, coinciding with the bloom period of their particular forage plants. Examples of this are Andrena helianthiformis, which is a specialist of Echinacea (purple coneflower), and Andrena solidaginis, which forages primarily on Solidago (goldenrod).
Many Andrena species can be valuable spring crop pollinators, particularly for orchard fruit, almonds, and blueberries.
Size: Small to medium sized slender bees, approximately 1/2 inch or less in length.
A large, diverse genus of more than 1500 species worldwide, with the greatest abundance in temperate regions of North America and Eurasia. Andrena species are found in virtually every habitat across the North American continent.
Number of species in North America
Early spring, spring, summer, depending upon species
Pollinated Garden Crops Include
Additional Flowers Visited in Natural Areas
Spiraea (steeplebush, meadowsweet)