The Tawny Mining Bee is a common, spring-flying, solitary bee, which nests underground, building a little volcano-like mound of soil around the mouth of its burrow. Nests can often be seen in lawns and flowerbeds in gardens and parks, or in mown banks and field margins in farmland and orchards. The Tawny Mining Bee is on the wing from April to June, which coincides with the flowering of fruit trees like cherry, pear and apple. The female collects pollen and nectar for the larvae which develop underground, each in a single 'cell' of the nest, and hibernate as pupa over winter.
How to identify
The Tawny Mining Bee is a gingery bee that can often be seen visiting its nest in the lawn during the springtime. Females are larger than males, and covered in a much denser layer of orange hairs. The males have a distinguishing white tuft of hairs on the face. There are several other species of mining bee, which are difficult to tell apart.
Where to find it
Widespread in England and Wales, rarer in Scotland.
When to find it
How can people help
Solitary bees and wasps are important pollinators for all kinds of plants, including those which we rely on like fruit trees. The Wildlife Trusts recognise the importance of healthy habitats to support all kinds of species throughout the food chain, so look after many nature reserves for the benefit of wildlife. You can help too: encourage bees and wasps into your garden by providing nectar-rich flower borders and fruit trees. To find out more about gardening for wildlife, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.
The tawny mining bee can be seen at lots of BBOWT's nature reserves. Some of our bee-friendly reserves where you might see it are: Abbey Fishponds, Dry Sandford Pit and Hartslock. Why not visit and see if you can spot one?
To find out more about bees, visit our Wild Info section. Learn how to identify different kinds of bees, browse our gallery of bees, and get advice on how to help bees in your own garden.