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