Updated: 22nd February 2021
Gooden's nomad bee - Nomada goodeniana - like all nomad bees are cleptoparasites - seemingly of Andrena (mining) bee species.
As a cleptoparasite, these bees locate potential host nests, and wait a little while outside the nest, before exploring further.
Assuming the nest is suitable, the Gooden's nomad bee enters the host's nest burrow, and lays an egg concealed in the wall of an unsealed nest cell.
The host bee will have begun the process of laying her egg and providing the necessary food stores (pollen), before sealing up the individual cell.
Once the grub of the Nomada bee emerges, it gobbles up the provision of food left for the larva of the host species, then proceeds to destroy the host grub. It has large mandibles (jaws) for this task.
I took many photographs of Gooden's nomad bee foraging - including on dandelions and many other wildflowers. Only one photograph was of sufficient quality to publish!
However, suffice to say that these bees are known to favour dandelions, rape flowers, Greater Stitchwort, cow parsley, buttercups and forget-me-knots among others.
In this particular location, there were plenty of wildflower, hedgerow and trees that would serve potential host species as well as Nomada goodeniana.
As with all cleptoparasites, the key factor for these species is that they can be found in the same habitats as their preferred hosts, upon whom they depend for survival.
Thus, when I see Nomada in a location, I automatically look for suitable nest sites for the host species - often small holes (burrows), sometimes around bare earth or cavities.
On this occasion, I quickly located the nest site: a dry patch of earth on an otherwise grass and wildflower-filled sunny bank. Here, I found a loose aggregation of small holes in the ground, and with Gooden's nomad bee flying and lurking around.
Most of the nest burrows were already sealed, but some remained open. The open nest burrows were potential targets for Gooden's nomad bee.
As you can see from the photograph below, the entrance of a nest burrow to the left of the nomad bee remains open, whereas the entrances to three other nest burrows visible on the photograph, have already been sealed.
The species I saw close by was Andrena nigroaenea - the Buffish mining bee.
However. other known hosts include the grey-patched mining bee Andrena nitida.
Andrena thoracica and the chocolate mining bee, Andrena scotica nests may also be targeted.
I know that some people find the idea of cleptoparasitic bees unpleasant, however, the presence of the cleptoparasite should hopefully signal the healthy population of the host species.
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