Andrena argentata – Blaxhall Common Suffolk

Another new bee for me !!

A medium-small species rather resembling a small A. barbilabris. Females have the same small-headed build and very pale facial fovea but the white hair fringes of the abdomen are much better developed and the pollen brushes of the hind tibiae are whitish rather than dark brown. Like barbilabris, the hind margin of tergite 1 has longitudinal creases.

Males tend to look very silvery in the field with a long white pile on the sides of the thorax and conspicuous white hair fringes on the abdomen.

This is a specialist of southern lowland heath with records extending north to Worcestershire. It flies from late June to September and foraging is largely from heathers

Anthophora bimaculata- Pinnacle NR

Our smallest Anthophora with a frenetic character, bright green eyes and a high-pitched, hovering flight that often attracts attention. It is one of two smaller, banded Anthophora species. Females can be separated from females of the other species (A. quadrimaculata) by the more conspicuous hair bands of the abdomen and the partially-yellow face with two large black marks below the antennae (face all-black in female quadrimaculata). Males have a yellow face and lack the pair of large black marks below the antennae found in male quadrimaculata. Like the female, they also have conspicuous and intense abdominal bands.

A. bimaculata is a southern species associated with very sandy habitats such as heathland, coastal dunes, soft-rock cliffs, sandpits and sandy brownfield sites. Most records are south of the Severn-Wash line but a few sites occur in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.

Nesting occurs in sandy ground, both flat areas and sand faces. Colonies can be large and conspicuous, especially on warm, sunny days when the bees emit their high-pitched hum. The cuckoo-bee Coelioxys rufescens can sometimes be recorded around nesting colonies or on flowers nearby. Adults fly from June until September and visit a wide variety of flowers, including brambles, lamiates like Black Horehound, Viper’s Bugloss and Asteraceae like Cat’s-ear and ragworts…Steve Falk

Andrena florea – Pinnacle NR

Another first !!!

A medium-sized species with reddish markings or bands at the base of the abdomen, much like some A. rosae and trimmerana but with shiny, punctate tergites and better developed flocci. The hind tibiae and tarsi are completely dark-haired.

Males resemble slim females and have antennal segment 3 longer than 4 (segment 2 much shorter than 3 in similar looking males of rosae and trimmerana).

This is a species of south-east England and can be locally common in some districts. Pollen is gathered from White Bryony in a variety of habitats including gardens, heathland edges and road verges hedges. It flies from May to August and nests in sandy ground such as footpaths, often in aggregations…Steve Falk

Dasypoda hirtipes – Pinnacle NR

Another first and another highlight for the year. Common name pantaloon bee because of its over sized hind legs/scopa

Status (in Britain only)
A Nationally Notable (Nb) species.
Sandy soils, particularly on heathlands and coastal dunes.
Flight period
Univoltine; late June to the end of August or the beginning of September.
Nesting biology
Females mainly excavate their nests in sandy, sparsely vegetated, level soil. Some sites contain nest aggregations of great extent. The main burrow is very long (8-60 cm) and is excavated at an oblique angle, resulting in a ‘fan’ of spoil to one side of the entrance. Cells are built at the ends of laterals which arise from the distal portion of the main burrow. In Denmark (and possibly in Britain), nest excavation usually takes place in the afternoon, females rarely leaving their burrows after mid-day or early afternoon (Lind, 1968). During excavation the hind tibial scopa is used as a brush to clear soil from the burrow entrance (Saunders, 1908; G R Else, pers. obs.). Nests are described by Müller (1884), Malyshev (1927) and Lind (1968). The early stages have been described by Müller (1884) and Rozen & McGinley (1974).
Flowers visited
This bee is especially associated with yellow Asteraceae flowers. A record of a visit to an onion (Allium sp.) probably refers to a nectar source. Flower visits are more oft en observed in the morning as most of the blooms that both sexes visit tend to close from late morning onwards.
Sarcophagid flies in the genus Miltogramma seem to be important parasitoids in the nests of this bee… BWARS