Andrena Carantonica:
The Chocolate Mining Bee

Andrena Carantonica, or the 'Chocolate Mining Bee'

.... are solitary bee species.  Here are a pair mating:

I was fortunate enough to have a pair ‘turn up’, or I should say ‘fall out’ of ’nowhere’ whilst gardening. 

I had just moved a currant bush in a pot, and topped up the bush with water, when this mating pair fell out onto the wet soil. 

I gently picked them up, and there they remained on my hand for no longer than a minute or two, just long enough for my husband to take a photograph before the two bees parted. 

Below - Andrena Carantonica - Female

The male is also smaller than the female, and the thorax is paler in colour. 

They each remained on my hand for a little while, then both flew off separately.

The male has a slightly narrow body in comparison with the female.

Above - Andrena Carantonica - Male

Note the tufts of hair on the hind leg of the female.  These get covered in pollen.

The name ‘Andrena’ tells us that this bee is a mining bee. 

Andrena carantonica  are seen in spring, foraging on spring flowering shrubs and plants.

Read about more solitary bee species.


.......are unsung heroes of our ecosystem, pollinating our food (and the food of many of our farm animals) and many of the trees that enable us to breathe.

They therefore provide food for birds and mammals, all of which play a role in the food chain, supporting the web of life on earth.

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Bees nectar robbing


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