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
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
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.
Univoltine; late June to the end of August or the beginning of September.
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).
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
In Britain, this species is confined to southern England, East Anglia and the Channel Islands.
Status (in Britain only)
Not listed in Shirt (1987) or Falk (1991); the restricted range suggests revision of its status is needed. Nevertheless, this is a common wasp over much of its range.
Mainly sandy localities, such as inland heaths and coastal dunes. It can also be found in dry clay banks in woodland clearings (M Edwards, pers. comm.).
Univoltine; June to August.
Nymphs of pentatomid bugs (Heteroptera).
According to Tsuneki (cited by Lomholdt, 1975-76) the nest is a burrow about 10 cm long terminating in one to three cells, which are placed one after the other as simple dilations of the tunnel. There are sometimes side branches, so that the nest may have as many as 12 cells. The female wasp flies the prey to the nest, where it is stored near the sealed nest entrance until there is sufficient to provision several cells. The egg is laid on the first stored bug in each cell. The larva develops in three days in Korea, where there may be more than one generation per year. In British and Scandinavian populations the species probably overwinters in the pupal stage (Lomholdt, 1975-76). Males guard small stones or twigs lying on the ground, making inspection flights every few minutes and returning to the same spot. They turn to face anything new in their field of vision (M Edwards, pers. comm.).
The species can sometimes be found in numbers on flowers of umbellifers (Richards, 1980), including wild carrot (S P M Roberts, pers. comm.).
The chrysidid wasp Hedychridium roseum is a known parasitoid or cleptoparasite