Overview

Brief Summary

Mining bees (Andrena spp.), also known as miner bees, sand bees, and digger bees, are named for their practice of nesting underground. These bees are found worldwide, except in Oceania and South America, and are native to North America. Mining bees are small to medium sized bees, ranging from six to 16 mm long. Males are slightly smaller than females. They are brown to black with whitish abdominal bands and are moderately hairy. Mining bees nest in exposed, sandy soils with good drainage. Their nests are often built near or under shrubs, and in banks, hills, and road cut-outs.

  • Mining Bees and Groundnesting Wasps (University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program)
  • Pollinator Profile: Andrenid Bee (Pollination Canada)
  • Solution Source: Mining Bees (Penn State University, July 2007)
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Ecology

Associations

Flowering Plants Visited by Andrena spp. in Illinois

Andrena spp. Fabricius: Andrenidae (Andreninae), Hymenoptera
(observations are from Schemske et al., Iltis, Conger, Reader, Campbell, Motten, and Graenicher)

Acanthaceae: Justicia americana sn/cp (Cng); Caprifoliaceae: Symphoricarpos albus sn (Gr); Caryophyllaceae: Stellaria pubera (Cmp, Mtt); Ericaceae: Andromeda glaucophylla (Rd), Chamaedaphne calyculata sn cp fq (Rd), Vaccinium macrocarpon (Rd), Vaccinium myrtilloides fq (Rd), Vaccinium oxycoccos sn fq (Rd); Liliaceae: Uvularia sessilifolia (Mtt); Malvaceae: Napaea dioica fq (Ilt); Portulacaceae: Claytonia virginica (Shm, Cmp, Mtt); Smilacaceae: Smilax ecirrhata cp (Gr), Smilax tamnoides hispida sn (Gr)

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Plant / pollenated
adult of Andrena pollenates or fertilises flower of Cypripedium calceolus
Remarks: Other: uncertain

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Animal / kleptoparasite
larva of Nomada fabriciana kleptoparasitises pollen store of Andrena

Animal / kleptoparasite
larva of Nomada flava kleptoparasitises pollen store of Andrena

Animal / kleptoparasite
larva of Nomada flavoguttata kleptoparasitises pollen store of Andrena

Animal / kleptoparasite
larva of Nomada goodeniana kleptoparasitises pollen store of Andrena

Animal / kleptoparasite
larva of Nomada marshamella kleptoparasitises pollen store of Andrena

Animal / kleptoparasite
larva of Nomada panzeri kleptoparasitises pollen store of Andrena

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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Mining bees are ground nesters and most are solitary, although they will form aggregations. Bees emerge in the spring, with males emerging slightly before females, and mating occurring shortly thereafter. After mating, females begin constructing their nests - a vertical tunnel lined with a shiny water-proof secretion and side cells. Small mounds of soil are often left above ground around the nest. In each cell the female places a pollen ball and lays one egg, usually laying less than 30 eggs in total. Once the nest is finished, the female caps the nest with soil. The eggs hatch into larvae, which consume the pollen balls, and then enter hibernation. During late summer, the larvae pupate and turn into adult bees, emerging from the nest the following spring. After emerging, adults live for about one month.

  • Mining Bees and Groundnesting Wasps (University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture Program)
  • Pollinator Profile: Andrenid Bee (Pollination Canada)
  • Solution Source: Mining Bees (Penn State University, July 2007)
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Supplier: Bob Corrigan

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:4372
Specimens with Sequences:3008
Specimens with Barcodes:2228
Species:508
Species With Barcodes:405
Public Records:621
Public Species:143
Public BINs:121
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Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Species With Barcodes: 1
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Species With Barcodes: 1
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Andrena euandrena3

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
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Specimens with Barcodes: 5
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Andrena trachandrena2

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Andrena thysandrena1

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Andrena scaphandrena3

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Andrena melandrena1

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Andrena euandrena6

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Andrena TX-Call2

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Andrena cf. venata

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Andrena KGZ-02

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Andrena ID01

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Andrena bc161

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Barcode data

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Pollinator

Mining bees are small to medium sized bees with hairy bodies. Their hairy bodies collect large amounts of pollen, which is then carried on the hind legs in pollen baskets. Females tend to return to the same flower patches, visiting near-neighbors of the flower previously visited. Mining bees are effective and common pollinators of many crops, including low bush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), and apple (Malus domestica) and other fruit trees. Along with crop plants, mining bees pollinate plants in natural systems, too, specializing on a narrow range of plants as pollen sources. Examples include spotted coral-root (Corallorhiza maculata), small white lady's-slipper (Cypripedium candidum), yellow carpet (Blemnosperma spp.), meadowfoam (Limnanthes spp.), goldfield (Lasthenia spp.), and skyblue (Downingia spp.).

  • Alternative Pollinators: Native Bees, Lane Greer, National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
  • Garden Friends and Foes: Mining Bees, Todd Murray, Washington State University Whatcom County Extension
  • Insects that are Pollinators for Orchids, Native Orchid Conservation Inc.
  • Specialist Bee Pollinators of Showy Vernal Pool Flowers, R. W. Thorp and J. M. Leong, Pages 169-179 in: C.W. Witham, E.T. Bauder, D. Belk, W.R. Ferren Jr., and R. Ornduff (Editors). Ecology, Conservation, and Management of Vernal Pool Ecosystems - Proceedings from a 1996 Conference. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento, CA. 1998
  • Wild Blueberry Fact Sheet: Wild Bee Conservation for Wild Blueberry Fields, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Public Domain

National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) at http://www.nbii.gov

Supplier: Bob Corrigan

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Wikipedia

Andrena

Andrena, commonly called the mining bee, is the largest genus in the family Andrenidae, and is nearly worldwide in distribution, with the notable exceptions of Oceania and South America. With over 1,300 species, it is one of the largest of all bee genera. Species are often brown to black with whitish abdominal hair bands, though other colors are possible, most commonly reddish, but also including metallic blue or green.

Andrena vaga visiting her nest

Body length commonly ranges between 8 - 17 mm with males smaller and more slender than females, which often show a black triangle (the "pygidial plate") at the abdominal apex. In temperate areas, Andrena bees (both males and females) emerge from the underground cells where their prepupae spend the winter, when the temperature ranges from about 20°C to 30°C. They mate, and the females then seek sites for their nest burrows, where they construct small cells containing a ball of pollen mixed with nectar, upon which an egg is laid, before each cell is sealed. Andrena usually prefer sandy soils for a nesting substrate, near or under shrubs to be protected from heat and frost.

Andrena females can be readily distinguished from most other small bees by the possession of broad velvety areas in between the compound eyes and the antennal bases, called "facial foveae". They also tend to have very long scopal hairs on the trochanters of the hind leg.

Species[edit]

Partial list of species:

See comprehensive separate list.

References[edit]

  • C. D. Michener (2007) The Bees of the World, 2nd Edition, Johns Hopkins University Press.
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