Ashy Mining Bee
Ashy Mining Bee
Andrena cineraria are a distinctive bee because of their grey hairs. They excavate tunnels in terrain that leads to a burrow of several cells, each containing a single larva. These bees will readily nest in areas where the soil is quite sandy for burrowing; like coastland and moorlands. They're active as early as March, so can be attracted to gardens with flowers which bloom early in the year. Some of these include Gorse, Hawthorn and Buttercups.
These are hairy bees capable of pollinating many flowers a day.
They may end up nesting in lawns or flowerbeds!
Adults: Females are distinctive. They are about 1.5cm in length. The abdomen lacks hair and is shiny and black; sometimes it can look as if it's got a blueish tint when the light reflects from it. The thorax has two grey furry bands, with some additional silver-white hairs on the face. Males look similar to females but are smaller, with lighter hairs where the thorax and abdomen meet. Larvae and Eggs: Gardeners rarely see these because they spend the life stage developing in burrows.
Little tiny holes or mounds of soil in lawns and flowerbeds.
Widespread across the northern parts of Europe; the UK and Ireland.
It's not recommended to treat gardens with Andrena bees. Fluffy mining bees like these are excellent pollinators. Having them in your garden will help increase fruits and encourage more flowering in future years. Help these bees by planting flowers which bloom early in the Spring!
These bees are top pollinators; ideally, they should be tolerated wherever possible.