Abbey Meadows

Abbey Meadows

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Ashy Mining Bee

I came across a sizable colony of Ashy Mining Bees (Andrena cineraria) on a South facing grassy slope just below Morpeth castle. This is the first time I have noticed this species. Males occur first following hibernation then mate and die once mated with the females. The slenderness of the 40 or so bees flying around suggested these were males but I could be wrong. There was a lot of mining activity with spoils of earth being pushed out of some holes and it appears to be shared with the much commoner Tawny Mining Bees which were also active at the same site. 
I looked at distribution maps for the Ashy Mining Bee and it is common in Southern and Western Britain and dots on the map appears to only come as far North as Durham on the East side of the UK but as far North as Western Scotland on the other side of the country. I'm sure like many insects they are under recorded and fellow naturalists further North should keep a look out for this species on their patches. 


Stewart said...

Excellent Nigel. I read about these a while back and have kept a look out but haven't seen any yet...

abbey meadows said...

There are probably a few colonies around the county somewhere but easily overlooked. The Morpeth site here looks like it has been around for some time.