Tawny Mining Bee

Tawny Mining Bee ©Philip Precey

Tawny Mining Bee

Scientific name: Andrena fulva
The Tawny Mining Bee is a furry, gingery bee that can often be seen in parks and gardens during the springtime. Look for a volcano-like mound of earth in the lawn that marks the entrance to its burrow.

Species information

Statistics

Length: up to 1.2cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

April to May

About

The Tawny Mining Bee is a common, spring-flying, solitary bee that 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 ginger-coloured bee; 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 that can be difficult to tell apart.

Distribution

Widespread in England and Wales, but rarer in Scotland.

Did you know?

Bees differ from wasps by being herbivorous, the adults feeding on nectar and pollen. Adult wasps are predators, feeding on invertebrates as well as nectar.

How people can help

Solitary bees and wasps, along with many of our other, often-overlooked insects, 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: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from coppicing to craft-making, stockwatching to surveying.