Belongs to: solitary bees

Ashy mining bee Andrena cineraria

Best time to see: mid Mar to mid Jun

Key facts

A distinctive solitary bee that has a dark glossy body with bands of pale hairs

Found throughout England and Wales

Nests are built in the ground, in sandy, open areas such as old quarries or coastal cliffs, sometimes in large colonies


Nest burrow is excavated up to 20cm deep with two or three cells in each

An egg is laid in each cell together with a pellet of nectar and pollen for the young bee to feed on

They over-winter in the cell as adult bees, emerging in spring, males first followed some weeks later by females

  • photo

© Tony Gunton