Andrena nitida
- The Grey-patched mining bee

All kinds of bees love dandelions, and among the fans of this flower, we can include the Grey-patched mining bee, Andrena nitida.

In Britain, this species can be seen from late March onwards through to July.  I took these photographs of the female specimen below in early April, which is peak season for this species through to May.  

About Andrena nitida

female grey patched mining bee Andrena nitida, a slim bee with a gingery coloured thorax, and with a dark abdomenGrey-patched mining bee, Andrena nitida. Female

Females measure up to 12mm, males are a little smaller.  They are slightly larger than a honey bee.  This species is univoltine (having one generation, and therefore, one flight period in a year).

They are found in a variety of habitats.  The photographs on this page were taken on a local old brownfield site close to where I live.

Nest sites

It likes to nest in flat or sloping turf, and according to Stephen Falk’s Bees of Great Britain and Ireland, nests may also occur in formal lawns as well as sheep-grazed hillsides.

Nest burrows are scattered rather than in aggregations.

Grey patched mining bee foraging on vibrant yellow dandelion flower.  This bee has a dark abdomen and gingery-haired thorax.Grey-patched mining bee.

Foraging preferences

In addition to dandelions, it may be seen foraging on hawthorn, blackthorn, gorse, raspberry, dead nettles, speedwell, willow, and cherries.

If you want to catch sight of this bee species, check spring blossoms and flowering shrubs

Another view of the Grey patched mining bee foraging on dandelion flower.Grey-patched mining bee, Andrena nitida.


Goodens nomad bee is a parasite of Grey-patched mining bees.  It is yellow and black and enters the nest burrows of the target host.Gooden's Nomad Bee

It may be attacked by the parasite, Gooden's Nomad Bee (Nomada goodeniana)

The Gooden's nomad bee enters the ground nest burrows of target hosts, such as the grey-patched mining bee, and lays an egg in a nest cell. 

The emerging parasite destroys the grub of the host species, and eats the provided food stores.

Brilliant Bees puzzle Book cover