Early mining bee (Andrena clarkella?) nest site

March 15, 2016

in A selection of my garden wildlife videos, Gardening For Wildlife, Other solitary garden bees, Red mason solitary bees

Early mining solitary bee nest site National Wildflower Centre Liverpool video

Probably one of the earliest solitary bees to emerge, Andrena clarkella. On this lovely March afternoon (14th) there were far more males than females. Most of the nest sides were south of the large tree trunk, in full sun and along the bare soiled south facing sloping bank. The soil here was drier and more sandy, with more exposed surfaces than other areas along the roadway. Further along the soil was much darker, damper, covered in grass and less sloped.

Female and smaller male early mining bee at nest site Nurturing Nature

A mining solitary bee ‘hive’ of activity! Many males were sunbathing, a few were chasing and harassing females, who themselves were busy digging nest sites or trying to escape! I did watch females leave the nest site area probably to forage.

From the females reactions all the ones I watched were trying to brush off or even roll over to rub off and dislodge the males! Perhaps they had not fed up on protein rich pollen and thus not ready to mate or they had already mated. They definitely at that precise moment did not want to know! Who knows?

These early mining bees were about 2 weeks earlier than the ‘early mining bees’ I have in my wildlife garden, possibly Andrena nigroaenea, whom still have not been seen this year. I think this small population I ‘inherited’ when I moved here is dwindling.

For info and link to buy an excellent book Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland by Steven Falk

An extremely useful resource supports this book by a special web site feature within Steve Falk’s Flickr web site which furnishes extra photos and other useful resources to assist with identification.

For more information about solitary bees visit BWARS

Interested in Citizen Science and pollinators? The Buzz Club 

Thanks to Ellen Moss re ID!

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