Tawny Mining Bee
As spring brings your garden to life this April keep an eye out for small mounds of earth in your lawn - you may have a special, and rarely noticed, springtime visitor!
This pretty, furry, ginger-coloured bee is very common in gardens, even in city centres. Many people will have several of them nesting in their lawns each year without really knowing they are there. What they might notice, though, are little volcano-shaped mounds that appear on the lawn in early spring. These differ from ants’ nests in that they have a single hole in the top about 4mm in diameter.
|A Tawny mining bee (Andrena fulva) emerging from its burrow © Claudia Watts|
Your lawn - a safe place to nest
As their name suggests, female Tawny mining bees dig holes in the ground to provide a safe nesting place where they can lay their eggs and the young bees can develop before emerging the following year. Unlike honey bees or most bumblebees, Andrena species are solitary and work on their own to build a nest and collect pollen for the young to feed on, but there might be many nests concentrated in a small area, giving the impression of colonial activity. Male Tawny mining bees are much smaller than the females and not as brightly coloured, they play no part in nest building or providing for their offspring.
|Snug as a bug... in a burrow © Claudia Watts|
These bees are totally harmless and will not sting. In fact, they are useful pollinators in the garden. Their nests will not damage the lawn and the little earth mounds will disappear after a couple of weeks, so there is no need to remove them or try to discourage these lovely little bees – just enjoy them!