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Life Cycle

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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.
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Brief Summary

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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.
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Pollinator

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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.).
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Andrena

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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 and 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 bees 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 hind leg.

Species

Partial list of species:

See comprehensive separate list.

References

  1. ^ Dehon, M.; Michez, D.; Nel, A.; Engel, M. S.; De Meulemeester, T. (2014). "Wing Shape of Four New Bee Fossils (Hymenoptera: Anthophila) Provides Insights to Bee Evolution". PLOS ONE. 9 (10): 1–16. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0108865. PMC 4212905. PMID 25354170.
  • C. D. Michener (2007) The Bees of the World, 2nd Edition, Johns Hopkins University Press.

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Andrena: Brief Summary

provided by wikipedia EN

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 and 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 bees 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 hind leg.

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