Anthophora / digger Bee
Male Anthophora urbana Cresson. © Rollin Coville
Male Anthophora pacifica on Manzanita (Arctostaphylos). © Celeste Ets-Hokin
Female Anthophora bomboides on Nanking cherry in Colorado. © Rita Clagett
Common Name: Digger Bee
Both males and females have fuzzy, grey or buff colored hairs on thorax, with a darker, often banded abdomen.
The female carries pollen in a brush of specialized hairs, called a scopa, on each hind leg. The scopae on Anthophora species is quite dense, making their hind legs noticeably hairy.
Anthophora are very fast flyers and are able to hover before landing on a flower.
They typically have very long tongues allowing them to obtain nectar from, and in the process pollinate, deep, tubular flowers. Anthophora species are generalists, however, and will visit a wide variety of flowers for pollen and nectar.
Anthophora females are able to buzz-pollinate the flowers of certain plants. The female grasps the flower while rapidly vibrating her flight muscles to release a burst of pollen from deep pores in the anthers.
Size: Small to medium sized, robust bee, 1/4 to 1 inch in length.
More than 400 species are found globally, in temperate and tropical regions. The greatest diversity and abundance of North American species is found in the western United States.
Number of species in North America
Slightly more than fifty species in the United States, with roughly six of these species extending into Canada.
Early spring to summer, depending on species
Pollinated Garden Crops Include
Additional Flowers Visited in Natural Areas
Parkinsonia (paloverde, Jerusalem thorn)
Psorothamnus (dalea, smoketree)