Mining Bees

Mining Bees – Andrena

Mining bees are one of the most diverse groups of bees, represented by 400 species in the United States. They are often the first bees seen in the early spring, though some species emerge in late summer. Many species have a smooth black abdomen, and due to their similarity in appearance, it is difficult to identify individual species.

Spring Beauty Mining Bee

Spring Beauty Mining Bees (Andrena erigeniae) are specialists of the Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica). Note the pink pollen the female carries into her nesting chamber to deposit before returing to the flowers to collect more.

True to their common name, they are ground nesting solitary bees. Often living in large aggregations, each female lays her own eggs and provisions them with “bee bread”.

Female mining bee working in nest chamber with male bee looking on.

Spring mining bees are generalist pollinators found on some of the earliest blooming flowers and are important pollinators of apple trees.

Mining Bee on Serviceberry

Though a very familiar spring pollinator there are many species that come out later in the season.

More about Mining Bees at the link below:

The Spring Bees of Peach Hill

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